Writing has always been my catharsis. It helps me organize my thoughts and figure out what the heck I actually believe. And then it’s helped me find the guts to act on said beliefs.
I’ve never shared (much of – more on that later) my writing with an audience because it’s MY writing. It’s personal. And while I feel totally passionate about my beliefs, my choices, and the world I’ve created for myself, the words I put down about them have always just been for me.
I had an affair. It changed me. It changed my life. For the past five years I’ve struggled with it. I’ve had nightmares. I’ve had anxiety attacks. I’ve had meltdowns. Not because of the choice that I made but because of what it cost me and the people I love(d). It was the right choice, I’m absolutely certain of it. But it was the most difficult decision I’ve ever made. And it’s haunted me.
A few months ago I found myself in yet another situation where I couldn’t escape the feeling of being judged for that choice I made five years ago. I don’t actually know if I was being judged or not, and quite frankly, it really doesn’t matter. But as I made my exit from this social setting all I could think was “Jesus, Melissa! You’ve got to get over this shit! This can not be good for you.”
So, I figured I’d write about it. I’d organize my thoughts and write my story and get it out of my head and maybe I’d finally start to move forward.
But then…I really liked what I wrote.
I’ve been blogging for a friend’s fitness website for a little while now with some really positive feedback. (I have a degree in exercise science, have worked as a personal trainer, and love helping people realize their health and fitness goals.) So, I thought maybe my “Affair” story would make a good blog post. Maybe I’d post it somewhere. Maybe it would inspire others, like my fitness writing had.
Well, go big or go home…I guess. I have no idea what possessed me, but I sent it to Huff Post’s divorce page. And they liked it. That was pretty cool if you ask me. I was proud of myself for putting it all out there. And, I’m not going to lie, I’m proud of the external validation it provided for my story and my writing. I posted it on Facebook because when Huff Post publishes your writing you share it with everyone you know. (Well, I do, at least.)
That was last night.
The comments, Facebook messages, text messages, and emails I have received from across the globe have blown me away.
The negative feedback I expected. Some of the comments are really rough and quite honestly, stupid. But in all fairness, I opened myself up to them the moment I hit “publish” on my writing, so I’m more than willing to read through each and every one of them. I made my bed, right? Some are fairly valid and once things have calmed down, I’d like to explore them more.
What I was not expecting, however, was all of the gratitude I would receive for putting my thoughts out there. I was not expecting the support I would receive from people that I haven’t spoken to in years (gotta love Facebook). I was not expecting to hear from men and women I have never met, thanking me for putting into writing what they had been thinking.
What a crazy day.
Generally when someone blogs for Huff Post there is something they are promoting. A website, a service, a product, etc. Aside from the website I created as a place to post those 1,000 words about my affair, I have none of that. I’ don’t even have a freaking “About” page. I just have me and my thoughts. But…I have A LOT of them. So, you haven’t read the last of me. Just give my brain some time to catch up to the craziness of the past few days, and then check back.