The Courage to Bare Your Soul
I recently wrote a piece about the IVF journey my husband and I are currently on.
As one might imagine, writing an essay about the struggles of infertility and the journey of IVF is quite personal. In the days of internet trolls and horrible humans feeling like they have a right to lash out with words, I was rather nervous about hitting the submit button. But then I remembered how much comfort I got from others’ essays and how I drew on the courage of strangers to have courage in my own life, and I thought, if I could do that for just one person, that would be enough. That would be worth the stress and the potential nasty words that would come my way.
So, I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and hit submit.
Days later, when my glorious editors at P.S. I Love You published the article, I would, like most freelance writers, share amongst my social media streams.
Again, I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and hit “post.”
What happened next was extraordinary.
No nasty internet trolls said some God awful things to me, and I did not receive one piece of well-meaning yet unsolicited advice. Instead, stories of pain came flooding into my inbox and the comments section.
I learned of the miscarriages of far too many wonderful women I know — and the miscarriages of strangers I will probably never meet. I learned how many IVF warriors are out there, so many in the middle of the journeys, and others who are on the other side of pain, enjoying each precious moment with their beautiful children. I learned how too many women have questions that they’re afraid to ask and hold pain that they’re afraid to let show.
It was beautiful.
It was eye-opening, too. For these were women from all different walks of life — the differences amongst them could fill a book or two, and yet, here they all had this thing in common. Here they were, afraid to share their story, stuck with how to sit with their pain. Many might look at them and think that life is perfect, and that they have it all together, and that it would be crazy to think that they could be grappling with a world of hurt.
And yet, here they were, in my inbox, saying just the opposite.
Too often, I think we forget that while the world feels as if we’re more connected and growing smaller, there is a world of emotions and experiences that happen on the other side of the screens that you see. It’s impossible to know what someone is sitting with, what circumstances weigh them down unless you ask — or unless you stand strong in your vulnerability and share. In doing so, you provide an entryway into a conversation that they perhaps would never know how to start.
In doing so, you provide a flashlight to someone who is desperately trying to find their way out of the dark.
We can never know what another human being is going through — but we can choose to show up in the world in such a way that makes them feel as if they have the courage to bare their own soul.