I've been told that I'm good at being honest, and that I have a way with words. But it's 1 in the morning and I am struggling to find the words to write.
My heart is longing and rejoicing and aching, too, in my many questions, and all I know is that it is beating and I am alive. I am alone, but I can hear You sing that Your love is strong and that You alone are worth the fight. Tonight, this is all I know, and I am letting it be enough.
There was a time when words and vulnerability frightened me more than anything, when the weight in my heart and my mind were too heavy for me to carry.
I was once told that nothing is impossible and that if I believed, I could move mountains. The child inside of me found no reason to doubt. I was 11, or maybe 12.
And I held onto those words with everything inside of me.
Until Fear creeped in.
I began to battle wars I couldn't win on my own. I was ashamed of being, of speaking up - I believed my voice didn't matter and that my words held no value. It took me hours before I could fall asleep, and I don't believe my mind ever found rest. I went over every conversation, every class presentation, my every action and response - over and over and over again - in my head.
I had become my own enemy.
I was 13.
I was 14, and 15, and 16, too.
And yet, I could still hear the words I had once heard and chose to hold close to my chest.
They trembled in me when I worried. They would echo and shake and fight the fights with me when I was weak and broken. They were with me. Those restless nights, those questions and cry-outs. They were with me. The desperation, the need, and the push-and-pulls. They were with me.
You were with me. You had always been with me.
And, one night, we faced them together. The fears, the worries, the monsters. You reminded me what I once believed - that I was valuable, that my voice mattered, that You were strong and You were with me, that I wasn't alone, and that I had a story worth telling.
You reminded me that nothing is impossible,
and together, we broke down walls.
It was 2007, and we had just moved to Ontario.
I began to take courage. I began to take risks, despite the fears. I began to speak up. I began to let go.
Even in the pain, I learned to be okay with feeling. I learned to be okay with the process of growing.
I learned to be okay with being human. And together, we awoke and You showed me what it meant to be alive. Together, we learned to breathe.
I became inspired by the people who surrounded me - the very people who continue to inspire and challenge me today, and I consider my best friends. I also found the story behind To Write Love On Her Arms. A story of pain, but also of hope and healing. A story of redemption. And a wake-up call. I realized that we were broken and hurting, and that the wars I had fought alone were being fought by other people, too. I realized we needed to be more honest and that our conversations needed to matter more. That the words I had once heard had to be shared.
It is out of this yearning that grew more honest relationships. It is out of that same heart that once carried the weight of every fear that grew the courage to be vulnerable. It is there that grew the desire to speak up and bring change, and out of that, grew a week of awareness and of hope, led by a group of us broken and growing and willing teenagers in high school.
It is out of this that this blog became. I started this blog to be honest with you and to be honest with myself.
I started this blog to tell the story of my healing and to remind myself that "nothing is impossible".
I started this blog to tell the story of Love and redemption.
7 years later, and I am asked to design a shirt for TWLOHA.
"And so we hope to be surprised."
It is 3 in the morning, you're singing "bring me back to the beginning again",
and being alive never looked this beautiful.
(Find the shirt here, with a few words here)