Thank you

It’s been exactly 72 hours

99,008 views

39,558 reads

2742 recommends

And 178 comments

Since I wrote that post

Many are in agreement and incredibly supportive

But several are not

I’ve received so many words of appreciation and encouragement

And it’s warmed my heart to no end

But I’ve also been publicly demeaned and negated

More than I ever have before

And it stings in a way that you can’t quite prepare for

It’s a weird feeling to be in this position

To share your personal experiences and ideas

To share your authentic self

For so many people to see

And then to hear that people love it

And that also several people hate it

It’s a new level of vulnerability I haven’t quite experienced before

If you were to ask me how I’m feeling right now

To be honest

I’m eerily fine

Very calm, very at peace, not emotionally stimulated

And I think it’s because a long time ago, I gave up pleasing everybody

But more than that, I think it’s because what I shared was the truth

My truth — in this moment of time, in this stage of my development

I shared it as best as I knew how

And that’s enough for me

So for those who have asked

Yes, I’m glad I wrote what I did

I’m glad that I felt a surge of inspiration to put my thoughts on paper

I’m glad I pushed that publish button early Saturday morning

I’m glad it’s sparked a conversation

In many places I don’t think it’s existed before

So whatever may be said about me — good, bad, or otherwise

I’m at peace with what I shared

And I’m grateful

So very grateful

For each and every person who read, shared, and engaged with my post

I appreciate so very much the time you took out of your day to give your attention to this topic

In this world of smartphones, snapchats, and silly memes, it’s heartwarming to know that this story was worth your attention

Thank you

Thank you for your encouragement, your shared experiences, and your partnership in this moment

I may not know you, but I feel you

I feel your acknowledgement, I feel your optimism, I feel your hope

And that is a gift I wasn’t expecting to receive

It’s also a gift I hope to pay forward

Pay forward with my voice, my platform, my privilege

I will continue to speak words and carry out actions that align to loving, respecting, uplifting, and empowering all people

And I hope you will too.

In solidarity,

Mandela

Edward Everett Hale

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