The year was 2016. My boyfriend had just broken up with me, and I was trying to figure out how I was in this place again. I had just gotten divorced two years prior. I was shocked, heartbroken, and deflated. I turned to writing in my journal.
With no plan in mind, I wrote about whatever bothered me that day. I noticed that the things that triggered me most were betrayal and abandonment – a continuous pattern of feeling like people were leaving my life before I was ready for them to. I fervently wrote about my great-grandfather dying when I was 9, my grandmother who died just a year before I was born, the boy who spread a nasty rumor about my vagina in 10th grade, and the abortion I had the summer after my sophomore year in college.
While I began working some of these issues out with my therapist, I also shared them with many of you on Facebook.
I’ll never forget posting the story and instantly regretting it. I clicked the “delete post” button. Facebook then asked if I was sure. Just as I clicked the button to confirm, Porsché Renée “loved” the story. I canceled the delete and messaged her. I told her I was just about to delete it. I felt like I was oversharing. I told her I had second thoughts about sharing my post. She encouraged me to leave it, so I did. Throughout the day, more people also loved it, so I posted another story the following Thursday…and then many more consecutive Thursday mornings after that with so much of your support thereafter. Many of you encouraged me to keep sharing and held me accountable if I missed a Thursday, you liked, shared and commented on my stories, and sent me personal messages thanking me for my courage and shared your own challenges. You even argued with my perpetrators and formed alliances in the comment sections. What a time! It’s hard to believe that was seven years ago.
Sharing my personal stories with you has brought so much fulfillment to my life and stretched me in so many new ways. As a result, I’ve started a blog (processingpain.com), written a book (processingpain.com/book), and facilitated journaling programs for high schoolers, young adults and moms across the world. Teachers and school administrators have invited me to talk to their students about my writing process and about my career as a writer. I also landed a syndicated column with Hearst Connecticut newspapers. So many amazing things have come from just being vulnerable with you.
With all of this being said, I simply want to say thank you to everyone who has supported me, encouraged me, offered me opportunities and even to those of you who said, “I could never tell my business like that,” because it let me know that I was doing something special. Thank you!!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY PROCESSING PAIN!
P.S. In celebration of Processing Pain’s birthday, I’ll be posting some of your favorites from back then. New friends, check them out if you missed the wave back in 2016.