Monday, November 23, 2009

Your Stories

I don't get hate mail. I can't tell if that means I'm not pushing enough buttons, I am pushing buttons but I'm doing it diplomatically, or I'm just not having that large of an impact. But I've gotten several letters, through email or facebook or twitlonger, that have really moved me. One family is working on financially separating themselves so that they can afford to leave the cult they no longer believe in. A young man asked me how he can help the girl he loves, who belongs to a conservative Christian sect and who loves him but thinks not believing is a sin. People have written about mental illness, eating disorders, and their own dysfunctional families. We have talked of all the most secret and shameful things, actions and motives and beliefs.

Thank you for trusting me with your stories and your secrets. Thank you for giving me the courage to keep writing, when I face something in my past that is dark or ugly or that I still carry shame for. Thank you for always reminding me that I am not completely alone, and that my story is not so different from someone else's. Sometimes I think the cult-indoctrinated sense of elitism makes it harder for me to believe anyone understands what I'm going through. Your letters cut right through that nonsense. Of course you understand. You've been there, too, whether it's the child abuse or the crappy marriage or the part-time job you hated, that first summer kiss, the freedom of a road trip, or how much you need your kids, my life is not out of sync with the rest of humanity anymore. I love you, Anteaters!

(Apparently mushiness is a side-effect of my new meds. It beats yesterday's paranoia though, so I'll take it.)