I’m often approached by strangers who are eager to share their stories with me. Moments seemingly insignificant to me have sat on the tip of their tongues just waiting for the right passerby to share it with. At first, I found it strange that in a room full of people, they chose to share their stories with me and a little bothersome to my daily routine. My route home is usually the only quiet time I have and to give those precious moments away was a tad irritating. But, as I began to understand the human experience and the relief that is felt after releasing your innermost thoughts, I came to appreciate these moments more and more.
I was waiting at the bus stop when I was approached by another rider who was wondering if there was a cell phone repair shop nearby I said, “No. Not in the area.” She let out a loud sigh, “I’m leaving my husband.” I looked back at her a little dumbstruck. She continued: “I’m leaving him this week. I’m taking my son, packing my bags and leaving.” A part of me wanted to ask her why, but even though she was sharing these intimate details, it didn’t feel right to probe. “I found him in bed with another woman,” she then began to break down. “Everything he promised me, the life he said I’d lead with him was all a lie. Now, I’m dependent on him. I don’t know how I got here, but I have nothing. I’m moving to government housing next week. I’ve explained it to my son. I used to work you know and I need to start sacrificing again, but he understands that it’s for our happiness.”
For what it was worth, I understood. To put it in context, she lived in the suburbs. At that point, I could only nod sympathetically. She was breaking free from the hold he had on her life. I understood her pain and the strength it took to walk away from that kind of life. Having briefly lived in a shelter and having been raised in the projects, I got it. I also understood the significance of having to start over and going back to your humble beginnings.
I wished her the best and told her that she had to do what was best for her and her family. I added that she would be okay. We exchanged names hoping to run into each other in the near future – I never saw her again.
I had a reader express how brave I was to share such intimate details of my love life with the world. It felt nice to be acknowledged; however, it’s odd how comfortable I am exposing parts of my world to complete strangers. Some, I’m sure, could care less about what I have to say; my setbacks, my wants, my needs and my hopes. Yet, this cathartic journey I’ve embarked on has allowed me to accept my past, embrace my imperfections and push me to be better. I am not ashamed.
People within my circle have voiced that they didn’t realize how little I divulged. The experiences that they now know of, some they’ve learnt of through my blog. Believe it or not, in my everyday life I am a private person. Maybe I share with you all because I can better handle the judgment from behind a screen or maybe I embrace the partial anonymity which tends to bring forth keen insights from my readers. All of this to say, I understand how easy it can be to share your innermost feelings with a stranger. I also know that we are drawn to certain people without quite knowing why. It was clear, with regard to the woman I met at the bus stop, that there was something about our individual stories, our individual journeys that allowed her to open herself up to me.
I share with you because I don’t want to hurt and burden those around me. I smile because I know the pain is temporary. I get up every day knowing that I’ve been given the strength to continue. And, I fight because I believe that there will be better days. I continue to share with you because our stories are intertwined by a common thread which helps bring understanding to the general scheme of things and allows me to believe that I am truly living a purposed life. So, don’t be afraid of who you are and don’t be ashamed of your story. Always and I mean always, stand firm in your truth.