January 31, 2023

Elephant Journal: “It’s Kinda a Big Deal.”

A few years ago, I was a little lost. Struggling. Unsure of where I was headed and who I really was.

One day, I sat down and wrote a poem titled, “The Goddess Within.” It depicted where I wanted to be. See, I vaguely knew the destination; I just wasn’t sure of the directions.

Poetry was what I used to do. It was a way of capturing what was in my head, heart, and soul, and I thought it only had meaning to me. A friend of mine said I should submit it to the Elephant Journal. I was nervous. I wasn’t sure who would want to read my words, especially when oftentimes they are so deeply personal to me.

I did submit that poem in 2020 and I cannot express my excitement upon receiving the “It’s kinda a big deal” email. Because it was a big deal. In fact, it was a huge deal. It gave me such meaning. It was the first time in a really long time that I was proud of myself. I remember sending it to my friends and family with so much pride. My mum and my daughter both cried. My daughter posted it on her Instagram story and it was the first time in a really long time I realised others were proud of me too.

Elephant Journal did that for me. It saw worth in my words and it inspired me to reignite my love of writing. In many ways, Elephant Journal reminded me of my own worth, and so began a love affair of writing articles. And a journey of healing.

My purpose when I write is to connect. To write words that resonate, and of course they won’t always resonate, and sometimes people will not like what I write or completely disagree, and that’s okay. I write because it’s cathartic, and I write about issues I see and feel strongly about. And if my words make a difference to just one person, it’s worth everything.

I get some great feedback, which I’m so grateful for, and I also get some disagreeable feedback, which is great because we aren’t all the same and being challenged is good. On occasion, I get nasty comments, and whilst I’ve learnt to not take them personally as people can only ever meet you at their level, I do wonder what fears these people have to cause them to lash out. As writers, we write from our own experiences and perspectives within a community that’s purpose is to empower and encourage.

Community. This has been my greatest gift. I love to read the articles of other writers, and maybe I don’t always agree with their perspective, but I respect they are speaking their truth. And speaking our truth takes real courage when we write the vulnerabilities of our heart and soul and it gets published; a piece of us is exposed, and that can be overwhelming sometimes. But the truth is the writing that is the most vulnerable, in my experience, resonates the most with readers. The community of editors, fellow writers, and readers has inspired me to keep writing and submitting articles. It’s a privilege to share my words and part of my soul with you and an honour to be part of this community.

There’s so much of me and who I am in my writing. There’s so much of my journey and the brutal lessons and beautiful blessings I’ve received along the way in my writing. I’m passionate, and I try to take my learnings and turn them into stories that help me, but more than that, I want them to reach the hearts of others. It’s been such an amazing experience, and when I look back at my articles, I can see how far I’ve come both emotionally and with my writing ability. How lucky are we that we have a platform to be able to write our words?

I’ve been able to share my daughter’s struggle with mental health (with her consent of course) as we were both hoping her story would help others. I’ve been able to share my journey of love and loss, which has been transformational in my healing. I’ve been able to share my grief. And I’ve been able to share much of my learnings and thoughts on things that are happening in the world. As people, writers, and readers, we all need to remember that our stories are not necessarily your stories, but it’s okay for us to share our truth, and it’s okay for you to share yours.

I see some nasty comments directed at Elephant Journal and some of the writers, and I have to say it’s disappointing. As I’ve said, challenging and disagreeing is expected, but nasty, even abusive comments are unnecessary. We are all human beings; none of us are better than anyone else. As Ram Dass so eloquently says, in the end, we are “all just walking each other home.”

So, to Elephant Journal, thank you. Thank you for publishing my first poem and reminding me I am enough. To the editors, thank you for all your encouragement and everything you have taught me; I’m so appreciative. And to the community of writers and readers, thank you for reading my articles. Thank you for empowering me through your comments. And thank you to those who challenge me; it’s healthy for the soul. And to the friends I’ve made, you are all incredible humans. I feel I’m part of something beautiful and have found many likeminded souls. Can’t wait to write more articles.

We all need encouragement and a little show of love and gratitude, and today, I wanted to give to you, Elephant Journal, because it wasn’t long ago that your “It’s kinda a big deal” email pulled me off a ledge, and that was kinda a big deal.

Grateful.

~

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