Seed & Water

Holly & Meagan

For Telling’s Sake pt. I :: Softening by Annie Parsons

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 experiencefor 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

19 thoughts on “For Telling’s Sake pt. I :: Softening by Annie Parsons

  1. Beautiful words, Annie. As usual. So glad you’re sharing in other spaces! You have a gift. And if that silly guy spurred on the desire to put words to feelings on a blog, then praise be. ;)

    • Thank you so much, Natalie – and yes, even heartbreak can have a silver lining. :) (Remind me the next time I’m crying over DiGiorno pizza and my second glass of wine.)

  2. “If suffering has softened my heart, then writing has strengthened it.” Yes, yes, yes. I love you and I love this. Please keep writing, always and forever amen.

  3. Annie has continued to be an inspiration of mine… Reminding me that God above all is our Rock and our Fortress, that we can’t do life alone – we need others and to never be afraid of adventure. She’s a constant example of how a life of vulnerability can lead to a life of extraordinary adventure and boldness. I love her as a sister in Christ and as a fellow human being. Huge hugs from Canada. xoxo.

  4. Annie, the reason I know of this blog is because of you. So fun to “witness” y’alls blog (and in-person) relationship.

    And I loved these words.

    p.s. no matter what, whenever I eat a Larabar I think of you.

  5. AP, I remember that first post of that broken heart…(am I recalling correctly that it was posted via MySpace-?)What an honor to have read each post over the six years…posts so well-written I’ve felt as if we’re sharing a conversation. You’re dang hilarious, and I’m sure you’ve caused many to shed many a tear.

    I am extremely proud of you…for the journey you’ve so gracefully set out upon, for the courage you’ve had to share it so eloquently along the way. What an inspiring, beautiful person you are! xxo

    • MySpace indeed! The abandoned amusement park of the internet.

      So thankful for your friendship over the years and the way you’ve tracked with these posts, even from afar. I miss you and hope to see you soon!

  6. Oh Annie. The prettiest, truest, most poignant words.

    After he broke your heart, we became best friends. Remember? :)

    Love you to the moon. This is such a beautiful piece!!

    • Thankful for your presence in my life, Greta – starting right after this heartbreak and continuing through multiple heartbreaks. So glad that we “get” each other, swirling emotions and words and all.

  7. I remember that day…when he broke your heart. I even remember where I was when you told me. Weird, right? So glad to have been a part of those next few chapters. Hoping we can pick it back up again soon. Desperately needing a wine and cheese night. Love your writing. You inspired me when I was doing the same. Miss you!

  8. Pingback: Guest Post at Seed + Water: A Hundred Intangibles | Food Loves Writing

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