I’m hoping this week sees you all well. I wanted to deviate from my regularly scheduled posts to introduce you to a fantastic individual by the name of Michael Stoneburner.
About two weeks back, maybe a week, I went over to Twitter and asked people about guest posting. I had never been invited to create a guest post before and was wondering what the ins and outs of doing one was. Michael was gracious enough to ask if I would like to create one for his blog. He’s been very supportive of my randomness on Twitter for a while now and encouraged me to express myself freely on the post. I’m so glad he did. It was nice to look through some of the reasons behind why I write and who I am as the author behind the screen.
I asked him if he would like to be my first guest post on my blog in return for his kindness and supportive nature. I’m happy to say he accepted. I gave him free reign to write what he wanted to share for this post, and I’m excited about the topic he chose. It fits very well with the overarching theme of the Kavordian Library webseries. It’s amazing the people you meet when you start sharing with the world.
Now I would like to introduce you all to a great person and what he has to say.
Do I Share Too Much?
When I was a young boy, I tended to repeat what I overheard from the adults. Almost immediately I was told to keep quiet. Not to repeat things. That was private. I’d have dreams as a child or something would happen to me and I’d share them. I was told it was just a dream and the conversation moved on or I’d be told to forget about what happened to me. Move on. Forget. Don’t talk about it.
I used to ask, “Then why were you talking about it?” or “Why did I dream that?” or “Why did that happen?”
I learnt quickly that when adults don’t know an answer or they don’t want to hear the truth, they tend to not want to discuss it.
I’d hear answers like, “That stays between the family.” Or “That’s a secret. Don’t repeat it.” Or “Forgive and forget. Move on.”
I grew up in a domestically violent household. I also grew up being attracted to the same sex. One of those things shouldn’t be an issue. The other one should have been. And should have been stopped.
But the truth is not what it should have been.
As an adult, the more I talk about things the more I find a group of the public shy away from my words. They can’t have a conversation about it. They seem to be incapable of talking about mental health, domestic violence, rape, gender, sex, puberty, menstruation…the list goes on.
When I started talking more about the past, about the domestic violence and how it impacted me. I was quickly shut down by my biological family. I was accused of not forgiving and moving on. It was as if the very topic seemed to prove to others that I was the problem. And this was just me talking about what had happened.
Just because a person doesn’t want to hear something, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be said.
I’m factual. I’m blunt. I don’t think being abused as a child is my weakness. I don’t think it’s something I should shy away from. In fact, quite the opposite. I think it should be talked about. I think we need to talk about rape. I was raped. A few times actually. I don’t wear it as a badge of pride. I don’t say it to get pity. I say it because it happened and it had physical and psychological effects/affects on me. I think we need to talk about mental health. I have extreme anxiety. It causes social issues. I have panic attacks. I sweat heaps. I struggle with staying in one place. I have depression, which triggers low self-esteem, trouble to be motivated and in extreme cases, self-harm and suicidal thoughts and attempts. I also suffer from PTSD, brought on by domestic violence, trauma, etc. Let’s talk about gender. What I perceive as personality traits I don’t just attribute to masculine or feminine. I am Michael and I am me. I don’t feel like I need to be anchored down into labels.
I look back at that paragraph and all those things we need to talk about…are things I’ve been told I overshare.
“You share too much. It makes you seem weak,” a twitter user once said to me in direct message.
But does it? Does it really? Because I feel strong. I feel determined. I feel full of purpose.
Why can’t I be emotional and share my emotions? If I am not hurting anyone or spreading hate with my words, then why can’t I simply talk about who I am, what I am thinking, the experiences I’ve gone through and how I feel about it all. After all, I’m pretty sure it’s how we learn. We read. We talk. We share. Why are we limiting ourselves to actually connecting?
Do I share too much? No. Sometimes I don’t share enough, actually. The connections I’ve made since writing my books, He Was A Boy Who Smiled, with other survivors of domestic violence, with people who used to be domestically violent and for those who thanked me for showing them a world they had never experienced. Victims of violence are listening because they’re used to the silence. People need to learn to listen back to them.
Listening is a huge part of understanding. And we can’t listen if we are told not to share.
If you were told to not air your dirty laundry, or told no one would believe you, to keep it secret, to fall into silence because if you talk about it you’re not over it…I think you’ve been quiet enough.
Speak when you can. Share if you’re told you shouldn’t. Don’t allow yourself to be censored because others don’t have the capacity to converse.
Just be. That’s what I’m trying to do.