As I was reading each of the stories I was blown away by them, each one had some latent power within the story and as I continued reading something dawned on me. Now I realize that this is a bit of a comparison and not the point, but just illustrating what I was feeling in that moment. I realized that I had not named any of the things I have struggled with. Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with that and I am not trying to shame anyone for what he or she wrote, including myself. But for myself I realized that I still was operating (somewhat) out of fear. Even after all this time, learning and growing bolder I was still afraid to type the word like: chronic illness, suicide, sexual assault and many other words that can be used to describe challenges and learning curves I have faced. I realized that there was still a small part of me using that buffer I have used for years to protect myself, to keep me safe, because up until recently (and even now sometimes) it has not felt safe for me to completely remove that buffer. I mentioned in my first post how I got “burned” and I believe that is where the buffer came into place. It was an act of separating everything I felt: people couldn’t handle, didn’t want to see, would hurt everyone I loved and the list of reasons could go on and on. With every experience I added a new reason until sharing just did not seem like a viable option, so I tried to just shut it all away & hide it from everyone.
I know now that there is another reason why that buffer is in place, in a sense it is also to protect me but not in the same way the other kind was operating. It understands from my experiences that some: information, experiences & feelings that want to be shared does not make sense to do so in every situation. There are some environments; people etc. that it just doesn't make sense, it isn’t safe and that I will not get what I am looking for. That buffer is trying to use discernment and wisdom so that I (and the others involved) get the most connection possible and we all get what we want. Now I know that both buffers have (to some extent) taken it to extremes, and I am now in the process of finding the middle ground. There are contexts, people and situations that it makes sense to share. It is about the sense-making and trust that is happening within yourself and the searching of whys (I tend to do that, exploring process either myself or explore with the people I am interacting with) when I am thinking about sharing. It is a learning process and I have a long way to go, there was damage done by those buffers to others and myself because of how I handled things in the past. I want to own that responsibility and the impact those buffers have had on everyone, it feels an important part of the process. But there is hope, a reason to keep moving forward even if it feels so hard and I am so tired.
It has been in the last couple years that various people, some whom I admire and I am close with (but also sometimes complete strangers) that have revealed the impact that my story, my presence etc. has had on them and I have been blown away! I had no idea I had the capacity, skill or competence to do any of that. I realize that my story has that latent power and I am now at the point where I am willing remove the buffer in the spaces that make sense to reveal that power. I realize that educating people is a key part in changing this world and making the world aware of the stigma is part of that change. Part of that process is the willingness to be vulnerable, to be open in those spaces for others to see. All of our stories have power and the capacity to change the world, now I am starting to figure out how to use mine.