Today I’m sharing a young African-American woman’s story of coming through the abyss. Or as she puts it better, coming through pain and emptiness.
I keep hearing this refrain: that social media is a wasteland. That people only present idealized versions of themselves. That real connection is illusory.
Though I’m not long into my social media experience — I use Google Plus — repeatedly I’ve discovered the opposite to be true.
People share crushing moments. People share awkwardness. People share galvanizing moments. People on social media will share their vulnerabilities and their triumphs if you are open enough to share yours.
If you’re not, then you can still content yourself with scads of cute cat memes. And pretty pictures accompanied by the best thought bubbles the world has to offer.
I’m going to get out of the way here and let Ms. +MzIng tell it like it is.
First, in her own words, here’s why we’re not using her real name at this point:
You can share my story and use my Google+ pseudonym as I prefer not to reveal my true identity to the public. As things currently stand, there are many in my everyday life who would not understand my “awakening.” I am not prepared to deal with the fallout from that revelation at this time.
Second, though Ms. +MzIng claims to be no writer, I’m continually touched by her. To the point of having to dab my eyes! Mostly out of elation for her turnaround . . . but also out of sympathy for her journey.
Here is an example of her humility and spunk, from her email after I asked if I could share a portion of her story:
How honored I am by your request to share my story! I have often thought about sharing a success story with the world. I thought I had nothing to share, just yet. I wanted to share not because of how amazing I think it is, but how common place.
I feel no different than anyone who’s been knocked down by life, yet somehow managed to get back up…stronger than before. I’ve wanted to inspire others who’ve felt like nothing, that it’s possible to increase self-worth.
Like so many who come through the fire, what she wants most is to reassure others that they too can make it through.
Here’s Ms. +MzIng, moving from praying to die to an emoticon wink at the end of her story:
I know you’ve been there too, so you understand that it’s grow or die. I know I can be dramatic, but I believe that those are the only 2 choices available to you when you face the dark night of the soul.
And I did feel like dying many times while in that place. I prayed for it, wished it, spoke it, but for some reason I was still here. And it wasn’t that I loved life so much (then) but I couldn’t bring myself to do it on my own. And one day I read something on a forum that changed my perspective completely.
For some time I had been reading that the “dark night of the soul” was to bring you to “yourself.” I understood the need, but couldn’t figure out the why or how. All I could see was the pain I was living and the emptiness that preceded it.
Until someone just clearly stated that even if you don’t love yourself, just tell yourself as often as possible throughout the day how in love with you you are.
I had nothing to lose at this point, so for 3 days I did so religiously.
In the beginning I was lying to myself and I knew that. But it may have been on day 4, I woke up with the realization that I was in love with myself. Everything was different at that point. I also had a sense of who I am. That sense of self isn’t fleshed out at this point in time, but I know it is on a soul level.
I also now know my worth. I have value if only to myself. I know what I deserve and what I will no longer allow in my life.
I know, too, that I want others to achieve this self-love if they haven’t already arrived for all the reasons that kept me from this place.
I have to be grateful for the pain, and how it came into my life. I have to be grateful to the one who gifted me with it. I know it was not intentional, but circumstantial. It served its purpose for me. Look at me now! ;-)
For you —
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