When you actually get published

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you might remember me talking about an influence in my life that’s kept me alive for the past almost 15 years.

The organization To Write Love On Her Arms has been a part of my life since I was in high school. When I would look up things like “ways to kill myself”, or “what to do if I want to die”…they are one of the things that I found.

Back then, the organization was relatively new, and not many people had heard of them yet. They wrote a blog post, they sold t-shirts, and they allowed the space to exist for open and honest conversations.

When I was too weak to speak for myself how I was feeling, I would share Jamie’s (the founder and writer) words instead. He simply always managed to put into writing what I was so deeply thinking and feeling. And at that time…and even still now…that was everything to me.

Finding TWLOHA, and reading Jamie’s words…that played a large part in what made me want to be a writer. I realized that I could actually, successfully talk about these things that had been locked inside of my head for so long, if I only just wrote them down. And so I did. I started writing.

I started writing for myself, and for anyone else who might find my words relatable along the way.

There is community in brokenness and in pain, and there is community in honest, vulnerable words. I’ve always aimed to connect with that community, to find myself amongst a crowd who simply understands what it is to struggle, to walk through a life that’s both beautifully and tragically shaped by pain.

Last week, I got an email from one of the editors over at TWLOHA saying that they loved one of my posts, and want to publish it on their website. They only post 2 blog posts a week, and, aside from their own writers…they have a TON of content to choose from.

And still…they liked something I wrote enough to publish it.

In all reality, I know this isn’t that big of a deal. It’s not a book, it’s not the biggest platform in the world, it’s not going to reach an audience of millions of people. But it is something. And it will reach an audience of many thousands, all with stories and struggles and a desire for better, just like me.

The truth is, all of the “hopeful” pieces I write, I write with Jamie’s voice in the back of my head. He’s the voice in which I’m able to draw hope from. I’ve read his words, read and listened to his books, countless times. I have quotes of hope that he’s spoken tattooed onto me, and he’s helped me choose life.

To be chosen to have my words, something I’ve written, be featured on their website…it’s….well, it’s really fucking cool.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely TERRIFYING….but I think it might be the best kind of terrifying.

Opening myself, my real self, with my full name and everything, up to be read and scrutinized by a bubble outside of the one that’s been created here…shit. It’s both scary and humbling. I don’t know when it will be up, if it will be this week or next week…but it’s just so terrifying…and also slightly exciting.

I know it’s not a big deal, but it’s a big enough deal for me to be maybe just a little proud of myself.

A little bit of hope goes a long way. And writing about that hope…even when it seems fake or false or forced….maybe it does mean something after all.

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