it’s okay to feel messy

“You don’t have to fake it. You do not have to fake it. Other people feel this way too. If your heart is broken, it’s okay to say your heart is broken. If you feel stuck, it’s okay to say you feel stuck. If you can’t let go, it’s okay to say you can’t let go. You are not alone in these places. Other people feel how you feel.” – Jamie Tworkowski

If you spend enough time with me I can pretty much promise you that you’ll hear me talk about To Write Love On Her Arms and/or its founder Jamie Tworkowski. I am not going to go into detail about what To Write Love is or who Jamie Tworkowski is simply for the reason that I hope you grow curious, click this link, and let them move you in the ways they have moved me. I will tell you that Jamie published a book about two years ago titled “If You Feel Too Much” and that that book has changed my life. It is emotional and at times it is painful. But it is honest.

I want you to think for a second about a song. But not just any song. And most definitely not the catchy song that plays on the radio five times on your drive to the grocery store. The song I am thinking of now, the song I hope you are thinking of, the song I hope you have heard, is a song that seems as though it was written just for you – just to change you. I hope you are thinking of a song that allows you to feel too much. That allows you believe in something, anything. These songs and the people that sing them are important. They seem to have recognized the moment, the chance they have been given. A chance to do more than sell an album but a chance to really connect with an audience. They take advantage of a chance to say real things and to move for things that matter. They dare to be real. They dare to be honest. And they change our lives.

And now I want you to think about your own life. In particular, think about the way you answer the question “how are you?”. For a lot of us, myself included, our first instinct is to say that we’re “good” or “fine”. We are quick to share our happiness – as we should be. But rarely do we venture to also share the ways in which we feel stuck or messy. It is hard to talk about the things that break us. The things that break us often make us feel alone – so we leave it out of our stories.

And so I think that it is kinda funny. Funny how the things that move us, the things that change our lives (Jamie’s book or songs that invite us to feel) stem from a place of honesty – and often a place of brokenness or vulnerability, yet we fight every day to present ourselves as the opposite – as together and tough. And I think that the world would look a lot differently if we all just opened up a little more. If we started to believe that other people feel the ways we do. If we started to believe in the power and importance of honesty in our own lives. If honesty wasn’t just the responsibility of public figures and artists.

And maybe a lot of us have never been told that it is okay to be honest or to share our stories completely and truthfully. But this is your invitation to be honest. This is your invitation to recognize that maybe what you have to share is just as important as what Jamie has to share, or has the power to move your neighbor just as your favorite songs move you. I am sorry this invitation is late. It is way overdue. But it is here now. And it would break my heart to see us pass it up.

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