Submitted by Volunteer Mel Ness.
Life is a journey.
An experience, a novel, a story.
We all have different journeys.
I want to speak to those of you who are inside of a struggle.
You may just be at the beginning.
You may be in the middle of the storm, in the thick of it, feeling like you are floundering or without hope.
Maybe you are at the tail end of the journey. Wherever you’re at, I want to speak to you.
Things happen in this life that are hard to explain.
No matter what your struggle is, whether it’s an eating disorder, a disease,an addiction, or a situation that you never expected would happen to you…you are not alone.
At the beginning of January, I lost my job and started a journey I never thought would be mine.
I realize that this isn’t a struggle that’s quite on the same level as some of the rest of the things that you are all going through, and I don’t by any means want to make light of other people’s situations…but mine taught me some things.
Regardless of what it is you’re in, struggle is a common thread that binds us together. No matter your race, sexual orientation, religion, or status, we are all human. Therefore, we struggle.
The most beautiful thing about The Struggle is that it is in those dark moments that we learn about the beauty in others.
So much of the world focuses on negativity.
We focus on the parts in people we don’t like, can’t stand, and despise.
And yes, there is a lot of darkness in this world…something that will never fully go away until the time is right.
But there is also a whole lot of good, too.
In the days after I lost my job, words were lavished upon me that I never would have heard had I not entered into the struggle. Some of them have stuck with me, and I want to share one chunk with you:
“Mel, what people need to see from you right now is authenticity, not perfectionism.”
If you are struggling right now, I want you to know that you are not alone.
It’s human to want to do things on our own.
We struggle to make ends meet, to muster up the strength to get through things solely on our own energy.
We bottle up, turn inward, and try to make it seem as if we are the only ones.
But you are not the only one.
At first I tried so hard to keep it together, to bottle up my emotions, and act as if I was able to handle it all on my own…to handle life by myself, without any help.
“I’m a strong person, I should be able to handle this on my own.”
“I care about others and don’t want to let other people down by making it look like I don’t have it together.”
“People expect more out of me.”
“I can’t ask for help…because that means I’m weak.”
And then I was forced to realize that this life is not about being perfect.
I’m someone who cares about others. I want to help people, encourage them, and lift up souls that are broken.
But me trying to be perfect won’t help anyone. It will hurt them.
The best gift you can give the world around you is to proclaim that yes, you are weak.
But it is in that weakness that you will find the greatest strength of all.
You are weak, yet you are made strong by the words, hands, and feet of others who are able to stand up for you when you can only crawl.
You are weak, yet it is in that weakness that you will find strength.
I can’t lie and say that your struggle will be easy. I can’t tell you how long it will last or the reason behind the struggle. But I can tell you that you are never alone, and that your life is a story, a testament, and a novel that the rest of the world gets the privilege of reading.
What will your message be?