August 25, 2015

We Should Never Be Afraid to Tell Our Stories, Someone Needs to Hear Them.

Die Filmschauspielerin Marika Rˆkk Post von einem Tag zeigt uns Marika Rˆkk, die alle Autogrammbitten, die sie von der Front erreichen, selbst in ihrer wenigen Freizeit beantwortet. Zwischen ihrer anstrengenden Filmt‰tikeit stellte sie sich noch in den Dienst der Truppenbetreuung der deutschen Wehrmacht.

Someone recently accused me of refusing to stop “banging my drum,” by which they meant, I suppose, I don’t know when to shut the hell up.

I can’t deny it. I was born missing some kind of filter. Everywhere I go, my drum is front and center and I’m banging like my life depends on it. And I believe it does.

These are some of my most common refrains:

I’ve struggled with depression my entire life. Bang!

I was in an abusive relationship with a narcissistic psychopath for five years. Bang!

While I was with my ex I lost everything, was addicted to drugs and started dancing to support my habit. Bang!

I got straight, got married, took over the care of my husband’s five children full-time, had a son, and then suffered through the suicide of my stepson one year later. Bang!

I still struggle with body dysmorphia and various eating disorders. Bang!

Bang, bang, bang goes my drum. Over and over I tell my story and am both applauded and judged for it.

Why would you continue to focus on the terrible things that happened when your life is so good now?

Aren’t you afraid you will hurt your children?

Why do you keep calling attention to the worst parts of you?

Can’t you just let the past go?

But there are other voices too:

Thank you so much for this, Erica. To say every word resonated seems not to be enough to express the relief I experienced while reading this.


Thanks so much.

I’ve just come out of a relationship with my ex-husband who is borderline. I found it so painful and confusing to try to love him. I am still recovering.

Your words are strong and helpful to me as I try to emotionally separate and resist. It’s a journey, and your encouragement is what I need to hear to be strong, to be alone until I can heal.


Thank you so much for sharing this article. I left a little over a year ago. I’m in a much better, healthier place.

I am healing, but your line about always being in recovery from him really rang true for me. It helps to know I’m not alone.


I saw myself through your personal story and I thank you for sharing!

I was in a two year relationship that should have ended when it started. I too was consumed and lost in this person. I didn’t recognize who I was and I started to just settle for the crumbs that he was getting.


I can’t thank you enough for this story.

I left a similar relationship about seven months ago and still miss his scent, his funny moves, our epic love making, reading his articles, going to ceremony with him and the bazillion things we had in common.

Some days I think, why didn’t I leave after four months, instead of four years? Your story gives me hope that my self esteem, self worth & most importantly SELF LOVE will someday be completely restored.


Thank you for this.

I needed to read it. I hope to use what I absorbed from your words to be free from the “negative tape” that keeps playing over and over in my mind.


Over the past two years of writing for elephant journal, I have exposed myself completely. I’ve held nothing back.

I haven’t done it to stroke my ego, or shock people, or get views. I’ve simply needed to tell my secrets because, through the telling, I gain understanding.

At this point millions of people have read my story—or pieces of it—so many that I can go to a huge concert in an arena and look around at the crowd and think, there are men and women here who know me, even though we’ve never met.

It’s a very strange feeling: empowering and humbling all at the same time.

When I began writing, it was purely selfish.

It never occurred to me that my words would help anyone. I just needed to get the poison out. But when the comments starting rolling in—thousands of thank you notes from people from every age and gender, across several continents—I began to realize, my story is not just mine, it belongs to everyone.

When we are brave, and refuse to hide, we give others the opportunity to come out of hiding too. We stand as a testament that no one is perfect, that everyone has suffered and that we can be flawed and hurt, but still move forward.

In return, we are blessed with the knowledge that our suffering has served some purpose and that we can be the impetus for positive change.

I will never stop banging my drum.

Do I worry about how my openness will affect my family? I worry about it all the time. My prayer is that the pride they feel in my willingness to put myself out there, to heal and to serve, will overshadow whatever embarrassment I may cause them.

In the final analysis, I want to be the kind of woman who embraced it all fearlessly—everything about myself, the good, the bad and the ugly. I want to raise children and have friends far-and-wide who can do the same.

In my dreams, I am surrounded by good, broken, badass, heart-strong drum beaters, and we are all taking turns pounding out our singular melodies loudly enough for the whole damn world to hear.


More from Erica Leibrandt:

Ask Me Anything: How Do I Know if I’m in Love With Him? {Weekly Advice Column}

Being an Empath: Blessing or Curse?

Can Social Media Create Real Connections? 7 Steps to Help it Happen.


Author: Erica Leibrandt

Editor: Travis May

Image Credit: the wonderful Georgia O’Keeffe. Image: Wikimedia Commons.

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