Day 49 of 365: why I do what I do.

I watched The Perks Of Being A Wallflower this evening… and it touched me right smack in the feels. I cried so many tears that I lost count. And yes, I do normally count my tears, because they’re that exciting of an occurrence. (The normal number is 1. 1 tear. Typically in the eyeball on the opposite side of where another human is sitting.)

If you’re a sensitive person, or someone who’s struggled with mental illness or trauma, or if you’re an introverted creative, or all of the above, please watch this movie.

I won’t go into too much detail, because spoiling movies for people is an un-favorite of mine, and I also need to go to sleep soon. Suffice it to say that the protagonist’s journey (internally and externally) was so familiar to me, that it felt like I’d just reconnected with estranged family. I cried out of empathy for him, while also utilizing it as a catalyst for releasing some of my own related feelings.

And this wasn’t a conscious thing. I wasn’t like, “WELP. THIS SITUATION REMINDS ME OF THIS OTHER SITUATION AND THEREFORE I WILL SUMMON THE APPROPRIATE EMOTIONS AND RELEASE THEM ONE SINGULAR TEAR AT A TIME. RIGHT EYEBALL ONLY TODAY, BODY. OKAY, GO!”

It’s more so like… This movie opened a door for me. I felt the moment when the door asked to be open. Do you know what I’m talking about? When watching something or reading or listening to something or someone… there can be this moment where you’re given two options: either feel this, or don’t.

And I leaned into it, and I felt it.

I felt this flow of love and sadness and compassion and connectedness. And I felt very not alone. (It helped that I was in good company, as this was real-life proof of not being alone, which helped the feelings integrate more deeply.)

I used to isolate myself, and I still sometimes feel the pull to do so. I did it in an attempt to save other people from me. Because I thought I was crazy. I knew I was erratic and that the tiniest thing could set me off into a rage or a suicidal meltdown. I figured that it was just the way I was… And the only safe option was to keep everyone away from me, until I was “safe to be around again.”

Even if I didn’t isolate myself physically, I’d do so emotionally. It was common for me to lay next to whomever I was with, and wait until they slept for me to silently cry. Or I’d hide in the bathroom or closet and sob until I felt safe/complete/hidden enough to come out.

I was certain, during those times, that no one else could understand or accept or love that part of me. The darkness. The pain. The confusion. The residuals from past traumas. The anxiety. The “bad,” as the protagonist calls it.

I can look back now, in hindsight, thumbing through the numerous conversations I’ve had with people who’ve reached out to me after reading my book or articles, and clearly see that I was never alone. There is always someone out there experiencing something similar.

The sense of isolation we experience when in a dark place is an illusion… A result of hyper-focusing on the pain. (This is not to be used as ammo for beating yourself up if you do happen to be in a dark place. Hang in there and do your best. The darkness will lift.)

And my goal… The reason I do what I do… The reason I write and share openly and honestly and messily… Is to hopefully help spark the same realization in others: you’re not alone. You’re not alone in what you feel or what you’ve experienced. You’re not alone in your worries or embarrassments or anxieties.

I deeply look forward to having my movies made, so my words can act as a catalyst for another person to feel what they need to feel… Even if it’s as simple as, “I’m not alone.”

I’m so tired that I’m falling asleep writing this.

Bottom line: you’re not crazy. you’re not alone. and, if you’re in a rough space? It will pass. Always.

Continuing to be wowed by this journey into the unknown,
Jen

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Sometimes I write about happy things. Other times I write about sad things. Either way, there will be doodles.

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