Storytelling: The Struggle and the Power in Sharing Your Pain

Once Upon a Time...Let me tell you something, folks.

Writing and publishing an eBook about your ex isn’t exactly easy—big surprise there, I know! It took me about 8 months to write, edit and publish My Funny, Sad Life: I Once Loved a Sociopath, and it’s a relatively short read. Take a full time job and life, and add to that the struggle in typing your pain, detail by detail, memory by memory, beat by beat, and sometimes you end up having to walk away for a few days, maybe even a few weeks before you can even think about stepping back into all of it. Writing the intimate account of what transpired between me and the man who once broke me like no other, and now promoting the eBook, discussing it, and answering questions about it, at times, it takes the breath out of me (I love it though—this is truly my calling!). And still in every moment, I find something much more powerful than all of that struggle. I find healing, both for me and for others. I find meaning. I find new learning, new faith, and new strength.

Confession time! Last night, after working on some book promotions and being consumed by the topic, I had the super bright idea to check his (Eric’s, of course) Instagram—something I had not done since probably January. I scrolled and scrolled knowing that I was looking for trouble, and after about five or 10 minutes, I found it. That’s when I had to put the phone down, and walk away. I grabbed my jacket and headed to my stoop to collect my thoughts and just breathe in the silence. I’m not proud of that slip. BUT, for the first time since all of this mess transpired, I did not cry. I did not shed one, single tear. I did not panic. I did not feel any throbbing pain in my heart. Yes, I felt a little sadness and some uneasiness, but it was nothing compared to what plagued me in the past. And I think I know why. My Funny, Sad Life: I Once Loved a Sociopath has brought me new healing, and my struggle has brought me new power. I must say, this is a welcome change.

Now I know everyone is not a writer, and certainly everyone is not a mass sharer or storyteller like I am. But today, I want to encourage you to share your story, maybe not to hundreds of people, but to a close a friend, to a family member, to a therapist, to a confidant, maybe even just to yourself, out loud, into the universe and out of your chest. Please don’t let all of that stuff just swim around inside of you, poisoning your spirit, and injecting itself into your everyday potential for happiness and healing. Let it out! Share. Dig deep. Work through those feelings. Work through that story. Get intimate with your thoughts. Don’t pretend the sting isn’t there. Don’t want until it all explodes into one big, messy ball of anxiety and irreparable wounds.

Do it for you, and do it for others. Because although we all walk a distinct journey in life, we all go through many of the same things. We experience many of the same blows, many of the same tears, and many of the same joys. And every time I get a message, a tweet or a text (thank you for all of the LOVE!!) about how My Funny, Sad Life: I Once Loved a Sociopath helped someone find healing or new understanding, or even simply gave someone something to relate to and find comfort in, I see it all over again—there is so much power in sharing our stories and our struggle.

Regardless of the nature of your pain, there is so much we can learn from each other, so much aching we all have the potential to spare one another through our biggest missteps and lessons learned. And that is what I hope to continue to do as I lay my most intimate pain and triumphs into the pages of every My Funny, Sad Life eBook. Whether its depression, poverty, obesity, love, dating, toxic relationships, sexuality, career, or any other topic, I know that the pain and struggle in every word I type equates to a power much bigger and brighter and more meaningful than any sum of all that yucky stuff.

That’s why I share. To inspire. To open minds. To offer perspective. To create healing. That is why I lay it all out on the line. Because when I’m going through something, big or small, I know there is no bigger relief for me than to read about someone else’s experience and see how they were able to come out on the other side of the pain or struggle victorious and better than ever; to realize that if they survived and thrived, I can and I will, too.

Just consider the opportunity for a moment. Push through that struggle. Share that pain. Free yourself, and help the healing in the process—for you, for me, and for everyone.

With that said, I can’t wait to get out the next two eBooks which will be a little lighter and more fun (touching on authenticity and happiness), until we get back into the hard, hard stuff with the next round. =)

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

A Love Lesson: Thank You for Not Loving Me

Love LessonDear Eric,

Sometimes we want something so bad, that we shut our eyes, and we follow it blindly, even if we step on hot coals as we do it. We clutch on to it, and we don’t let go despite that frightening feeling in our guts telling us it’s slowly killing us.

It’s now been about eight months since we stopped dating, six since I’ve seen you, and about five since I’ve talked to you. Still, it has only been maybe a month or two since the weight of your memory on my mind, on my heart, and through my deep struggle to move forward after what I Iovingly like to call the Major Mind F**k of 2013 begun to lift.

To some people, our relationship or the major lack thereof, was not real. It was fake and disingenuous and forced. It had too many rules, and none of them worked in my favor. It’s hard for them to understand why it became so big for me, why it hurt me so much, and maybe even why I’m still talking about it today. And for the most part, they are right. On your side it was all of those things and less. But for me it was real. It was very real. Our weak, borderline abusive, unhealthy, pathetic time together is the closest thing I’ve had to a real relationship in a decade. It meant something to me. It meant everything to me. And when you pretended to love me, I believed you. I shared things with you and opened up to you romantically in a way that I had not done with anyone in my adult life. I opened my arms, and I said, “Here, take it. Take it all.” And you did. The problem is you gave me nothing in return.

During that entire year together I struggled with my feelings for what I came to know as a bad person. I struggled to look in the mirror and respect myself, because I knew very well that I was putting up with all of the things that go against everything I believe in, and everything I preach. I let you control me. I let you demean me. I let you disrespect me. And I let you do it over, and over again. Although it was never anything particularly huge, the sum of all the small ways in which you would devalue me and the love that I wholeheartedly offered to you even when you didn’t deserve it (and your rarely did), became much more than I could handle. I began to see your lies, the coldness in your eyes, and the emptiness in your heart. Still my stubborn heart loved you, and at times I thought I’d never find the strength to let you go.

I spent all of 2013 questioning. I questioned my worth. I questioned what I might be doing wrong to deserve your cold-hearted ways and your refusal to commit. I questioned whether the games were real, or simply in my head. I questioned my strength, and whether I would in fact end up settling for someone like you, even though it has been my life’s mission to never settle. I was so scared. The good thing is that, much to your surprise, I did finally find the strength to let you go. It took me a very long time, but I did it. I said I’d had enough, and I walked away. Sure I struggled to cut the cord completely at first, and I might have reached out many times when I shouldn’t have, but as the days and months went by, I felt like I could breathe again. I felt like myself for the first time since I met you, and I began to regain my confidence and my strength. I began to see that it had been your negativity that had brought me down, and that I still had it in me to be very much victorious. My only weakness had been loving you. I was not depressed. I was simply in a bad, soul-sucking relationship. There’s a huge difference.

After more tears than I’m proud of having shed, in the onset of 2014, I made a decision. I was going to live more life. I was going to give up dating for a while. I was going to seek out new adventures, make new friends, take trips, invest in me, regain my center and heal. And for the last six months, I have filled my calendar with musicals, volunteering, ballets, dinners and travel. I intentionally sought out friends, I made plans, I lived. I stopped waiting around for you or for anyone, and I LIVED. Some days I was so tired from all that living that I wondered if it was all worth it or if I was going too far with it. Would this work? Could I once again take control of the happiness I had slowly and painfully let you suck out of me?

Guess what? I could, and I did. Today, as I write this, I am healed. Your rejection and your pain pushed me to reevaluate my life, to get back to my dreams, and to remember, that although I do very much want and believe in love, marriage and children, I have never wanted to be the kind of woman who revolves her life around a man, especially around an unworthy one. I have always wanted my life to be a big adventure full of progress, success, friendship, experience and healthy relationships. I want a partner who can add to my life, and not one who constantly takes away from it. I want to share my life with someone as bright as me, so that together, our lights can shine even brighter and help others in the process. All you ever did was dim my light. For a while there, you damn near shut it off.

But now, I’m in a whole new, beautiful place in my life. Last week I moved to NYC, and this Monday I started my dream job as a writer helping to inspire young girls to have courage and be all they can be. What could be better than that?! The possibilities ahead are endless, and my adventure lives on in true Sonia fashion. I am healed. I am happy. I am ready to date and believe in love again. I am ready to never accept anything less than the treatment I deserve. I am ready to stand up for myself and to be firm. I am also ready to be soft, tender and open with someone who will be able to accept it and appreciate it. I am ready to believe again in the power inside of me, in my resilience, and in my ability to move forward into bigger and better. I am ready to be Sonia again; whole, happy and ready to take on the world.

The lessons your pain taught me are proving to be invaluable. They have made me stronger and better than ever, and they have pushed me into this amazing place where I sit right now; a place where I feel almost invincible. My breaths are deep, and my gratitude is big. I remember now. I DO have control over my happiness, and no one can take it away from me unless I let them.

So thank you, Eric. From the bottom of my now-whole heart, thank you for not loving me. You gave me the love lesson of a lifetime, and changed me forever in the best way possible.

The end.

Yours truly,