"We but half express ourselves, and are ashamed of that divine idea which each of us represent." -Emerson
I remember when my dear friend Alyssa took that picture of me, above. It's from about 8 years ago. She is an incredible photographer and we were playing around in this red box she had created and suddenly she asked me to trust her, and to lean my head down, as she poured dirt all over me. Then, she placed the flowers over the dirt, ever so gently.
At the time, I was a single mother, going through divorce, and battling depression without meds , which was like a daily emotional version of hand to hand combat.
Somehow, in the picture above, Alyssa captured it all. My strength, the fact that I was delicate, my shame, and the beauty that shone through.
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Several days ago I received a lovely email from a woman I have known for several years, though have not seen in 4 or 5. She has seen this blog, and her email was kind and sweet, she mentioned her own experience of dealing with people who were mentally ill, in her own life.
And then, to combat any fear that I wear my mental illness issues on my chest like a badge, she said this:
"I have always seen you as an amazing, bright, beautiful, talented, honest and enlightened woman."
This was an extremely kind and flattering statement, and I do not share it blithely - as if people say these things (much less believe them about me) on a regular basis.
But, the comment also made me pause, and made think again about why I started this blog.
To her, and to many of you who know me - writing this blog may seem brave, but also, perhaps, a bit like I am tossing a great big handful of dirt on my good qualities.
So I ask you all, to consider the picture above. No doubt, I, like most people have my share of dirt, evident here and there, and perhaps I also have my shining points, the parts of me I am proud to let the world see.
But likely, the real me - the whole me - lays somewhere down beneath it all. The real me.
I think, that the divinity in each of us is not in one trait nor the other, but in the real soul, beneath the dirt and the flowers, that shines through.
May each of you who struggles with mental illness, know this about yourself as well. Despite the dirty patches, or more likely - even when they are evident, you too, shine with beauty. Believe in your divinity, it is greater by far, than your disease. May you reach farther today, than just laying down your shame, but may you also let your beauty shine.
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