Initially, joining Medium was a part of my effort to make writing my full-time job. A friend of mine sent me a Medium article on the best way to make a living out of writing and after reading it, I decided that Medium is the best place for me to start my journey.
I have never thought that I would get so much more from an online platform.
I have always had problem sharing my predicament with others. It takes a very long time for me to open up to another person. Trust takes a long time to build. You don’t just hand it out in a whim.
There is actually a story behind it. Back in high school, I had a huge family dispute going on at home. It caused a lot of hurt and chaos to a lot of people. I was 16 years old, still trying to figure out life, still trying to find the answer to the question of who I am and life was pretty much hell at the time.
I remember what my mother used to tell me repeatedly when we were alone during that time of emotional turbulence.
“You can’t trust anyone but yourself. You shouldn’t talk to anyone about the problem in our home. It will spread like a wildfire and it will bring shame to the family.”
I’m not going to disclose the details of the dispute but basically, in the culture where I was brought up, family dispute — no matter how small — is an absolute disgrace, and living in a small town where one of the favourite pastime of the majority of its occupants is gossiping, telling another soul about what’s happening behind the door is highly forbidden.
A façade had to be maintained. And we all had to pay for it.
In the end, I couldn’t. I had to tell someone. Anyone. I was drowning and I needed help, badly. So I talked to one of my bestfriends and to one of my teachers. Sharing the burden with someone really helped.
There are times when we are so engrossed in our problem that it feels like we are the only one experiencing it and that no one else would understand. We feel so alone, trapped with no solutions and no way out. I’ve learned that that’s not always the case when I started sharing my stories with others. I started with the people in my social circle.
Once you’ve started telling people, you’ll be amazed by how many people out there who can relate to your problems or situations, no matter how bizarre they are.
I am currently in one of the most challenging times of my life. I just lost my mother. Everything happened so suddenly and fast that I didn’t really have time to process the whole thing. After the cremation, I felt like life had gone back to normal. It felt that way. I kept thinking my mother would want me to continue my life, to live life to the fullest like I’ve always had.
So I did just that. I resumed my life.
I was, and am fine. Or so I thought until recently I started to have weird feelings and weird reactions to certain things. I haven’t had anxiety for a while now and I guess I have forgotten how it felt like. I finally identified what I’m experiencing.
I started writing again (I used to journal but I stopped when I did my teacher training) as a therapeutic practice and I decided to share my stories in Medium, thinking that I might help others who are experiencing the same thing and at the same time earn a bit of a living from something I love doing.
After publishing several stories, I realized that I am actually getting more help rather than helping. I’ve got a few people commenting about their own personal stories who are very similar to mine. I’ve got words of encouragement and tips on how to cope, which really help.
All from complete strangers.
Medium has restored my faith in humanity. People care. This is how we connect as human beings, through shared emotions and experiences. We are after all, one big family living on Earth.
I also came upon tens of articles about valuable life lessons. How to cope with anxiety and the loss of a loved one, how to be more productive and be a better person and so many other goodness. I have stumbled upon a gold mine.
We are never alone.
For each and every one of our problems, there are hundreds, thousands of people who have survived and are able to lend a hand. It takes courage to share our stories, to put a piece of our souls out there for people to see. But it makes a difference. We have been given a voice and no matter how small you think the voice of a single individual is, it matters.
So thank you. To those of you who have read my stories. It means a lot to me as a writer. Thank you for listening to my stories.
Thank you to those of you who had shared your personal journeys and battles, your demons and how you conquer them. Your stories have been the light at the end of a long dark tunnel.
It’s not an easy task. Reliving sad memories, conjuring your demons out of the depth of your personal hell, putting thoughts into paper and hitting the publish button. Thank you for doing just that.
Thank you for being the candle in the dark.