The Ripple Effect Of Sharing Our Stories.
I sifted through an old wound, one that festered to an ooze and stained my energy most of my life.
I excavated through dark caverns to find the treasure in the underbelly of all that was buried inside of me. I pierced through shame and hate and ache to find my way through it. I went right into the center of that baby and got dirty. Knee-deep in shit, I was determined to fertilize it and grow myself solid.
I wrote it out into a distilled, raw, honest essay encapsulating the journey of that wound, of sitting at the table with it, of saying it out loud. I submitted it for publication and screeched to a halt just as I was about to hit Send.
I watched myself cringe to a coil.
If I let myself run naked across this page, you will see me. I will be vulnerable. A deer in an open meadow with a bow and arrow pointed at my heart, or my jugular.
I might stand wide-eyed and terrified of being laid to rest in a pool of my own blood-spill, or maimed to the point of crawling into a layer of shade under the brush to let my pulse slow to a stop.
I retracted my finger from sending. I stared at the wound I exposed in eight hundred words forever embedded into the skin of the page I was about to send free-falling into the arms of the world, not knowing if those arms would catch me or send me crashing to the ground with a thud.
I reflected back to the times in my life when unleashing a secret from its dungeon gave me the strength to take one step further into the courage and tenacity it takes just to be alive. I wrote my heart out into journals that I would burn page by page. A bonfire of hurt-turned-smoke-and-ash that dissipated to the sky.
Even just the writing of it allowed me to stretch and ease the muscle of my clenching jaw. Burning it helped to let it go.
I want to lay my vulnerability at the altar of the world, surrender as I open the doorway to the secret childhood room of my pain. I want to trust that by shining a light on it, instead of locking it inside the dark of my shame, a surge of healing will ripple within me. And within you.
I hit Send.
Within hours and then weeks to follow, I received letters from all over the world thanking me for writing it, and for admitting things, hard things, that once kept my story lodged in the back of my throat, slowly choking the life out of the vitality that is my birthright.
Long messages in my inbox revealed personal stories not only about how my piece touched them, but also into the deeper, most tender parts as to why. An unfurling of constriction and grief rolling out onto the page, I could almost feel the warm breath of their sighs of relief just to say some things out loud.
To someone who said it out loud.
This is the direct ripple effect in sharing our stories. The deep ones. The ones I cringe to put out there, exposing myself to the world like that. I’m so glad I ignore the voice in my head saying Tone it down or Whoa, that’s frickin’ personal, are you sure?
Yes, I’m sure.
There’s a collective sweep of healing that happens when we share our selves. We learn that we are not alone, which in and of itself reaches deep down into a pit of emptiness and fills us with the salve of being seen.
Courage breeds courage. There is enough fear breeding fear into the world. Anais Nin wrote, “The day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
Let today be that day. Ripple courage out, and witness your own self-blossoming having the ability to coax the velvet-veined petals of others to gently fall open into the gorgeous flower they are meant to be.
You are beautiful
The way your hand slides across the page
The way your heart breaks open
and shadows your face lapis blue
Flecks of gold spilling out
You are surrendered
As you stream out your heart
finding your way through jagged terrain
This life you’ve endured
This life you love
in spite of the wounds
that make your eyes so deep, I fall in.
Leslie Caplan is a fiercely courageous heart who has found her way whole through the alchemy of writing. She is a powerful advocate for writers, and uses the depth of her skill and innate abilities to support them going deeper into their stories. A professional editor, writing coach and internationally published writer, Leslie brings it to real with an unwavering passion for honesty & fluidity of voice, heart & content. You can find her at her website.