A few weeks ago, I wrote a little post about the gift of casting our small days out into the blog world for heaven-knows-who to read. So many of you—some who I know, some who I don’t (not in-person, at least!)—reached out to reply in agreement, and it even more affirmed my inklings toward telling’s significance. We have never done a guest series here before, but this felt like the time and subject. More than anything we want this blog to be an honest place that cultivates friendship and beauty—something I also hope will be true of my home over the span of my life! This small series, For Telling’s Sake, is a net to catch the stories of people who inspire us and a place to hang the findings of how sharing life through blogs is a rich and meaningful experience—for sharers and readers.
There is no better person to start this series than Annie Parsons, an Internet friend turned flesh-and-bones friend. A charming and brave soul, Annie is more honest, belly-laugh funny and adventurous than just about anyone.
I was 24-years old when he finally broke my heart. Generous with his words, he had always promised that he loved me – but his actions and attitudes belied those words, cracking me little by little until the terminating blow, a sledgehammer to an already rapidly crumbling innocence.
In the days and weeks that followed, I gasped for air. The grief of heartbreak is nothing short of an anvil on the chest, a weight that steals breath and paralyzes. The future I had imagined was no more, and while the world continued to spin, mine was over.
Of course, 6 years later I can say that my life did not, in fact, end in that moment. On the contrary, in many ways it began. He was not a horrible person; we were just young. But the grief I experienced during that time changed my life, for suffering can lead to softening – and my all-of-a-sudden tender heart found itself with a need to testify.
I began writing in earnest in 2007, and the internet seemed the obvious stage. At that point, I had no way of knowing the losses that were ahead of me – loss of home, loss of trust, loss of security, loss of control, and yes, more loss of love – but as it’s turned out, writing has become a lifeline in the midst of what’s been, at times, a raging storm. The practice of assigning language to emotion has led to connection – a familiarity with myself, and as I would soon find out, with others.
For me, vulnerability on the internet garnered an almost immediate reaction – some of horror (and sometimes for good reason, said the oversharer), but mostly of support and solidarity, murmured “me too”s that strengthened my feeble wings and made me feel less alone. Some of these voices have materialized in real life, flesh on bones, honest-to-goodness human beings who have become some of my closest friends and confidants.
These people, my same-selves, have nudged me toward honesty, reminding me that an artificial, sterile existence is uninteresting and ultimately, unhelpful. These people, my kindred spirits, have affirmed my belief that the heart matters, and that even in the midst of pain, there is beauty to be found.
If suffering has softened my heart, then writing has strengthened it. In my life, the two have gone hand-in-hand, rescuing me again and again from a life of status quo and driving me toward hope. I’m about to celebrate 6 years of candid emotional disclosure on the internet, and for all of the beauty that has come of it, I will always be grateful to the boy who broke my heart.
Read more from Annie Parsons on her blog, Hootenannie.