The other day these few little words landed in my Facebook Messenger inbox and they were music to my ears.
Just threw away my razor
Now, these words will mean nothing to you unless you know the story behind them. I have found that writing books has brought me into contact with some of most diverse, beautiful, funny and amazing people ever. Old, young, quirky, staid, unusual, comedic and in some cases, downright scary. I have to say I love it all. The people that I find the most rewarding to chat to though are the ones who share things with me that I feel privileged to be part of and humbled that they choose to tell me things and trust me to keep a secret. The young man who wrote those words, let’s call him DA (and he’ll know why), is one of them.
DA lives in North Carolina in the US. He’s in his early twenties, gay and Christian. He comes from a conservative, religious family, attends a conservative University, and faces challenges that perhaps are ones facing other young people but that to him are very personal and unique to his situation. He’s very intelligent, a high achiever scholastically, and from what I know about him (as we’ve never met) he’s a man with a good head on his shoulders and a vision for himself as to where he wants to be in life.
He also self-harmed (I’m using the past tense because when he reads this post, I want him to know how much confidence I have in him keeping his promise to me not to) finding that somehow, that helped him cope. Being gay, a Christian and sometimes not being able to reconcile the two, taking pressure from his peers at school, his family, about his lifestyle and his sexual proclivity, one he didn’t choose but was born with- those are all tough things to live with. He also has bpd- borderline personality disorder, so he suffers from chronic insecurity and low self-worth. So he has a lot of demons to face.
We met via a special Facebook group and he was recommended my books by a friend of mine. He read Double Alchemy one and two (yes, there’s the DA reference ), started messaging me about parts of the books, character motivations and had a fascination with the ins and outs of Withinners and magick. And so an online friendship was born out of a story that I wrote and that he loved. If that isn’t enough validation for a writer to feel that she’s making a difference somewhere in someone’s life, then I don’t know what is.
This post is really about two things. One, the ability of stories to bring people together over long distances and make what I hope are long lasting virtual, and hopefully one day face to face, friendships.
The other is to validate this young man’s presence in my life and that of others around him and tell them that they are worth every minute. I was never more proud of him than when he sent me that little message. My family thought I was crazy, enthusing about the courage of someone I didn’t even know. (I’m sure we all face that somewhere in our relationships when the online friends we have become so meaningful to us and others perhaps can’t understand it.) But it’s real. It means something to us.
It can be destructive; we all know this and it’s an area we have to be extremely careful in. People have been hurt this way and it’s a never ending battle to keep the traitorous wolves from the door, and from snapping their jaws and tearing our flesh into shreds. But you have to continue taking those leaps of faith. As long as you do your homework and do your best to confirm the person’s existence, and safeguard your feelings and emotions, you should be fine.
This morning DA messaged me, really excited, because he’s found another young man who really likes him and took him out for a romantic dinner and gave him his favourite chocolates. It is early days but it’s a wonderful, positive start and I am so happy for him. Especially when DA says that he believes he’s not worth it and thinks no one can love him. Someone has just proven him wrong.
So, to my wonderful DA; I have this to say to you. (Forgive me for all my book title references but I thought they worked in this instance –and actually I don’t care if they sound a bit cheesy J)
You stripped yourself bare, and made a start to saving yourself. You, my friend, are definitely worth keeping and anyone should be honoured to love you senseless. The magic of self-belief and self-validation is a powerful tool and should be used in buckets.
And to all the other people out there suffering from the same insecurities and fears – the same applies to you. Every human being in the world deserves love and happiness and is worth every effort to get them there. Believe in yourself and that you are someone unique and that is the battle half won. You have the right to exist and live as you are, regardless of colour, sexual preference, gender, religion or beliefs and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Of course there are some basic human decencies attached to this- the biggest one being my own personal mantra and the old Wiccan rede, ‘And it harm none, do as ye will’.
Taking beliefs and religions to the extreme and condemning and hurting others is so not cool. ‘Nuff said, as once I get on this soapbox, I won’t come down without a fight. Or a strait jacket.
We cannot let the bigots, zealots and small minded people win the battles that may be fought within ourselves and in society as a whole.
YOU ARE ALL SPECIAL AND YOU MATTER, BOTH TO YOURSELVES AND TO OTHER PEOPLE.
Tattoo this fact on your foreheads (I’m speaking metaphorically so don’t rush out and give the tattoo parlours too much business!) so every time you see it, you’ll remember that you deserve everything that is good and fulfilling in life –you deserve to love and be loved.
And on a final note…