“Those are sad stories,” he wrote. “And I also think the world could use some good stories. I don’t think there will ever be enough, really.”
Here’s a thing about me you would learn if we met in real life: I’m obnoxiously positive and happy, but I’m also incredibly passionate and deeply troubled by the world. In any given moment, I can promise that I’m some form of a walking contradiction, dealing with the dualities of light and dark, joy and sadness, peace and chaos. All at once. All jumbled together.
Most of my stories are pretty sad stories.
If you read through my many journals and notebooks and unpublished posts, you’d read about heartbreak, loss, death, isolation, abuse, and a whole lot of hurt. That’s kind of what you get with someone who’s deeply troubled by the world, and who experiences it from a space of such intensity and passion.
I wrote my first poem in middle school. I had a class with a wonderful woman who made us wear french berets and snap our fingers after we recited poetry from a makeshift stage at the front of the room. She was the first person to look at me with love and give words to an aspect of my personality I didn’t fully understand… she saw my free spirit and she nurtured my creativity.
The first poem that I wrote at 11 years old was about love and loss. While I’d held the hands of boys, I’d never loved and I’d certainly never lost… but I instinctively picked up the pen and wrote about it anyways.
Love is something wonderful,
that no one can define.
Love is something special,
something that’s not mine.
I continued writing. I wrote about heartbreak, judgement, emotional abuse, and a deep level of sadness. I wrote about things I had yet to experience, but that came through me as if I already had.
The thing about sad stories and good stories is they’re actually one and the same.
Most of my stories are pretty sad stories. Heavy, raw, intense stories. I’ve shed a lot of tears over the pages of my journals as stories and poems flowed through. But my stories are also pretty great stories. Because love and loss and lies and hurt, they lead to some beautiful things if we’re willing to let them.
Betrayal has lead to better matched love and partnership.
Loss has lead to expansion and deep connection.
Lies have brought powerful truths to light.
Abuse has created strength beyond measure.
Failure has lead to better alignment and unmatched success.
I will tell you all my sad, hard stories, and I will do it with such love and gratitude and a smile so big it will feel entirely out of place.
Life is hard, but there is always, always good.
More importantly, the deeper the level in which we experience the darkness of this life, the more fully we can experience and appreciate the light.
I love more fully and more deeply than anyone I know, because of the ways I’ve been hurt and betrayed. Because of the losses.
I am more driven and successful than ever before, because of the spectacular failures I’ve endured. Because of the missteps.
I’m more happy, full of joy, and totally in love with life than most people, because of the hard, challenging, and depressing times when life felt too overwhelming and hopeless to bear. Because of the darkness.
I live a life filled with beautiful, inspiring, great stories, because I lived through the sad stories. Because I saw the lessons, the beauty, and the gifts. Because I see and acknowledge that they’re one and the same.
Most of my stories are pretty sad stories, but I choose to see the good. I choose to teach and lead and share from a space of loss and hurt and darkness, because life isn’t all happy and fluffy and smiley. And yet, it is. Such is the confusing, contradicting, duality of this life.
Life is full of hard, sad stories. We all have them… but far too many people stay stuck on the sad side of the stories, they never see the good.
I’m five months out from the first, hardest loss I’ve ever experienced. This loss brought me to me knees, made me question everything, and shifted me at my core. It broke my heart. But this loss is also one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever been through. It’s one of my many good, sad stories. And it’s by no means the last.
There will never be enough good stories as long as we choose to separate “good” from “sad” and “hard” and “heartbreaking”. So whatever your sad story, I challenge you to find the good. There is always good. There is always a lesson. There is always a gift. Sometimes it takes a lifetime to see, but I promise it’s there.