Today I have some bad news, my friends. I’ve been working for the past 5 days on an incredible blog post — the life story of a friend and a song I wrote that was inspired by her life. Her story is absolutely incredible — full of overcoming pain that I can’t even begin to imagine. Some of the traumas she has overcome are incest, domestic violence, physical disability, her child committing suicide, and more. She has moved past the pain of all of this and is living a life of love and joy.
When I read the post out loud to Vince, and we looked at the telling pictures of her and her family, we both cried — I cried so hard I could barely read it out loud. I was intensely moved by the power in this story and I knew it would impact so many people.
I fell in love with the idea of telling these transformational stories and writing a book to feature these amazing people I have found. My personal story of transformation is just the beginning — I want to tell the stories of others, and set their life message to music in songs I write. I’m so enthused by this idea!
So I was all ready to post my friend’s story and song yesterday, after working so passionately on it all weekend, and at 4am yesterday morning I checked my email (for some insane reason), and found that she had decided not to let me share it. There were reasons listed, such as the possibility of an ex-husband finding her through the story, or her family members judging her for sharing it.
But I knew the real reason:
It’s the same panic I had when I posted my first video on YouTube of my life story. The utter terror of putting your most intimate and naked self out to the WORLD online, is one that you can’t understand unless you’ve done it. I get it. There is no judgment towards my friend. I’ve been there. I know the art of rationalizing (lying to myself) to keep me from giving myself to the world. And there’s a right time for everything. I get it.
But I’m gonna be REAL today people — when I got that email from her pulling the story, I was devastated, and I was PISSED. Not pissed at my precious friend. Pissed at the fear. Pissed at the darkness. Pissed at the hiding.
Here is a beautiful person, with an absolutely off-the-charts inspiring story, who is choosing to not share herself with the world because of the remote possibility that her ex-husband might find her and come to harm her. An ex-husband from 30 years ago who might not even be alive anymore. Yes, I understand that this is a real risk. But fully LIVING is risky. Sharing yourself is risky. And giving in to the fear means you have not come out fully victorious. It means the abuse still has power over you.
At the end of our interview, the words that inspired the song I wrote for her, were in this exchange:
I said, “You have been through so much, yet you don’t seem like a victim at all.”
And she said, “I’m not a victim. I’m not even a survivor. I’m a THRIVER.”
And ironically, before I knew that she was choosing not to share her story with you, some of the words I wrote in her song were:
I’m not wearing a mask anymore
I’m choosing to live the life I’m created for
There’s nothing left to hide
I’m letting go of my pride
I’m bravely letting myself be seen
I’m not a survivor
I am a THRIVER
And I’m gonna live
Every moment I’m given
When I was writing this song for her, I was filled with emotion and intensity — I could SEE all the people that would be touched by her story, especially once they heard the song. To go through what she has been through, and to joyfully live to tell it — it’s powerful stuff, people.
But not if you keep it to yourself.
Here’s the key, my friends:
We are not meant to keep our stories hidden.
We are meant to share them. Yes, it can be uncomfortable. I know it’s not comfortable for my parents when I talk about being molested as a child. But to keep it inside would be to let the darkness win.
We have to get our shit out into the light, where it loses its power over us!
It’s time to SHARE, to SHINE, to LET OURSELVES BE SEEN!
So here is my offer to all of you: Since I can’t share my friend’s story yet, I would love for you to contact me with suggestions of your own. Do you have a story you want me to share with all of us, along with a personalized song I will write? Your story doesn’t have to be earth-shattering — it just has to be vulnerable and authentic – fully YOU! Send me your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I still have tons of hope for my friend, and I completely respect that it’s just not her time to share. My anger is not directed at her.
It’s just that I spent most of my life hiding, and I know first-hand the intense joy and freedom that floods your life when you let yourself be fully seen by the world. Yes, it’s scary. Yes, it’s risky. But it’s SOOOO worth it because it lets you RISE out of the fear and darkness AND
— it inspires OTHERS to rise out of their own fear and darkness!
Will you come out of hiding with me and let your story be shared with the world?
If so, this song is for YOU!