You Are Not Unique

As featured at Women Writers, Women’s Books

My love of writing didn’t come to light until I actually sat down and did it formally. It wasn’t until a topic stirred me with such intensity that it made me realize that maybe it was worth sharing with the world.

Once I put my proverbial pen down to rest, and sat back to admire my creation, I was suddenly struck by self-doubt and feelings of inferiority and worthlessness. I questioned what made me think I was so special that someone would want to read my drivel. I ruminated over it for months until I finally tucked the project away for two years.

One fateful day, a dear friend poured out her heart to me, and I experienced the first of many epiphanies surrounding this new journey in my life. There actually might have been a reason I wrote my story. I entrusted her with my work and anxiously awaited her critique. Her feedback was not what I expected at all; as I secretly felt it would just get swept under the rug and we’d never speak of it again.

It was the day she came to me with tears in her eyes and said, “Why on earth haven’t you published it? There are so many women like me who need to hear what you have to say.”

I love this woman dearly, so her words felt more like my mother saying, “But I think you’re beautiful.” It didn’t matter that those close to me constantly encouraged me to share my words. I still felt like a joke. I still felt like that awkward freckled-faced little girl who was the butt of everyone’s jokes.

What my loved ones didn’t recognize was that I wasn’t putting my words out there; I was putting myself out there. Stripping myself naked and standing in the middle of the street for the entire world to look at. To judge. To criticize. To mock. Why on earth would I want to do such a thing? Why would I want to take my already-insecure and fragile self and set it up for further condemnation?

The answers only came to me recently. Well actually, the answers had come to me so many times before, but I only heard white noise and couldn’t see past the end of my own nose.

Because I’m worthy.

Because I have a gift.

Because there’s nothing unique about me.

Those three answers may sound completely askew, but they are the truth in a nutshell. My life’s events may be shuffled in a unique order, but I am not alone in those experiences. There are other women out there like me who feel the same way I do, think the same way I do, but feel alone, just like I did. It means that maybe my gift of spinning a tale could touch someone who otherwise felt alone. Someone who longed to have an unconditional friend by their side – even if only in spirit.

Some writers say that writing is an escape for them; writing for me, is a discovery. I found “me” for the first time in my life. I stood naked in front of the mirror and looked deep into my soul. I dusted off all of the negative words and experiences that sullied the beauty of my heart and allowed my gorgeous self to emerge.

Yes. I am gorgeous. Breathtaking actually.

Once I looked past how my post motherhood breasts didn’t perk anymore (and the five inch scar running down my untoned abdomen like a crooked zipper), I was able to see the beauty that was dying to get out and share itself with the world. Deep down, underneath that well-worn packaging, was a gift so marvelous that I knew I couldn’t hide it anymore. I realized that my heart and soul are so amazing that they could take anyone’s breath away, if I could just muster up the courage to share “me.”

Recently, I held my breath, closed my eyes, and leaped out into the word – naked. I decided it was time to live my life out loud instead of watching it pass as the masses stepped on or through me. I stood up to be noticed and finally understood that it was never about me. It was about you.

You are the reason I put pen to paper. You are the one I wanted to unveil. Your goose bumps and tears inspired me to reach out to you and wrap my words around you. I wanted to protect you and give you the strength that you didn’t know you had. Your happiness is what strengthens the beat of my heart.

Who are you?

You are the woman we all are.

You are me.

By releasing “me” into the world, we have collectively become more beautiful. We complete each other. We hold each other up when another falters or is exhausted from the day’s battle. We are not arrogant or crass, we are divine. We create life for gawd’s sake, so why can’t we stop and admit how amazing we are? So who are we really?

We are worthy.

We are a gift.

We are not unique, because we are one.

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