I would like to introduce to you my friend Bonnie, she had some words she wanted to share, and I was more than happy to oblige. I am lucky to know this girl, she is not only one of my biggest supporters, the girl has words! She has a blog over at Unrestrained Laughter, please check it out.
Written by: Bonnie Guy
When I was a girl, I wrote all my juiciest secrets about the boys I chased at recess into my little diary. It was one of those diaries that had a tiny lock with a tiny key. But all the keys are the same, so one day my older sister took my diary and read it out to her friends, and laughed. I was humiliated. I stopped writing down my thoughts after that. Someone might read them. And laugh. Better to keep them in my mind where nobody can hurt me with them.
I always loved to write, English was my best subject. But I lived in the shadow of sisters who were praised for their writing skills, one was a fabulous poet, the other interested in journalism. I always just figured I paled in comparison, and pursued other interests. As a young adult, I still didn’t keep a journal. I wanted to very badly, so I would buy beautiful books with lined pages and inspiring quotes on the front. But the pages remained empty. Sometimes I would write: ‘I don’t know what to write’ and so the page was not entirely empty. But my thoughts were still trapped inside me.
As time went on, I developed anxiety. It didn’t occur to me when I was in the thick of it that a form of creative expression would do me good. But there I was, bursting with emotion and thoughts. They needed to get out of me. They were eating me up. When I came to a stronger place emotionally, I decided to be a little more fearless and share some thoughts in writing. Part of me was still afraid. Part of me could still hear the laughter. But a bigger and stronger part of me wanted to overcome that. And so I shared, and it turned out to be incredibly therapeutic! I decided that maybe I had a message that other people could draw strength from, and I set out to share my thoughts in a way that would lift people up. But there was still darkness inside me that needed to be released. Regrets. Skeletons. I decided one day to share something that exposed parts of me that I was ashamed of in an effort to heal. It was a piece that was extremely hard to write, tears streamed down my face as the words appeared on my screen. But I was able to speak words to people who I love in the process that I did not have the courage to say before then. Those people heard my words and offered me the forgiveness that I had been desperately searching for. A huge weight was lifted from my soul, but I thought of other people who are still waiting in the darkness. I wanted to share my story with the world in the hopes that it may offer comfort to others who shared in my pain, and so I submitted it for syndication in a closed group of writers. That was when my voice was stolen. Again.
It all came flooding back, the feelings of humiliation when my words were taken by my sister. Only this time, it was an absolute stranger. Another writer saw my piece, and the following day she shared one that was almost identical, right down to the title. The message, even specific phrases from my piece were copied. I read it in horror, and my heart sank. I had allowed myself to be vulnerable, I had exposed a part of myself that had been a prisoner of fear, and now my story had another name on it. I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt… maybe her experience was similar to mine? Maybe she admired my story, and tried to put her own spin on it? But it was eerily similar. Almost identical. I felt violated and withdrew from writing. I haven’t written in months. My thoughts are trapped inside of me again. My emotions explode at inopportune times. Spilled milk. How did I come back to this place? NO!!!
I’ve jumped this hurdle before; I can do it again. I am not voiceless. And I intend to be heard. I intend to write. I intend to share a message with others that will lift them up and empower them. I did not come screaming into this world to have someone just walk away with my voice. So this is me finding it again. This is me speaking out because stealing is wrong. Especially when you are stealing a piece of someone’s heart. A piece of someone else’s story. Writing is a form of creative expression, and I realize that there will be parallels between one person’s experience and another’s. But there are also copyright laws in place to protect a piece of writing because stealing someone’s actual words is wrong. Didn’t we establish this in elementary school? I remember learning how to put things in my voice. So I’ll be damned if someone is just going to steal my voice and push me back into the darkness. I will continue to write. Not out of spite, because holding onto anger and resentment is not part of my mission. I am going to write because it is necessary. Because I need to. Because I’m not going to stay in the darkness and allow other people to have power over me. I need to heal, so I am telling this story so that I can move forward and find the courage to write my story.
For most of my life, I was a bit of a pushover. It’s something I’m still working on; I was never very good at standing up for myself. I’m not a huge fan of conflict. But I’ve begun to learn that there are times when it is necessary to stand up. I also know that it is better to fight hate with love. I can’t go back in time and tell that little girl to stand up for herself, but I can do it now for myself and anyone else who has lost their voice. I urge you to find it again. Reach inside yourself and find the part of you that knows what you are capable of, and then don’t let anyone stand in the way of your dreams. Chase your passions, live fearlessly, love deeply. And then, when someone tries to stand in your way and rob you of your voice, continue to sing your song.