When I write provocative or challenging columns, inevitably, someone sends me an email, a Face Book message or comments to me directly telling me that they thought I had them in mind when I wrote that column. The truth is, the only columns that are about someone specifically are the You Matter columns.
Most of the time, I choose a topic for my column from something I have witnessed, experienced, read or seen. I never know what is going to resonate with me and give me pause, and later, spill over onto the key board. Sometimes I write my column, moments before it is due to the newspaper and sometimes I write two or three at a time, when I am inspired or influenced.
I have been accused over the last nearly six years of writing, of taking jabs at my ex, airing dirty laundry about friends and using my personal experiences as fuel to my writing fire. I admit, in the earliest of days when I was new to writing my column and reshaping my thinking, that was the case, from time to time. It wasn’t a conscious Taylor Swift sort penning of my angst, but a way of sharing my point of view. I also admit, that my writing has matured over time, just as I have.
I have a passion to teach. I have a passion to heal my inner child that never actually had a child hood. I realize now that my early years forced an unreasonable sense of responsibility on me. As an adult and as a mother who broke the chain of abuse and neglect, I see that I spent my whole life trying to make sure everyone around me was propped up to avoid personal pain. In my warped thinking, I had surmised that if I could keep you happy, I could avoid your anger, which in turn, meant I could be happy.
I write for many people. I write for people who may feel stuck, people who live in fear and regret. I write for victims and victimizers; for the bitter and the better. I write to inspire and to challenge your mind. I want to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable. I want to help you face your truth, by showing you mine. Like you, I am afraid of the unknown, but perhaps unlike you, I have been given the strength to step out into the unknown with a faith that everything’s going to be all right.
I face weekly challenges in my column. I am not the best at grammar and punctuation and sometimes I cringe when I see the typo’s that missed my edit. I have had help with editing and I have gone at it alone. Depending on your level of critiquing, my written missteps may or may not affect my credibility. It doesn’t deter me from my passion.
When someone asks me directly or indirectly if I am writing about them, here’s what I think- If what I say resonates with you or causes a light bulb to go off in your head, then yes, I am talking about you. If what I say inspires you, confronts your behavior or sets you conscience on fire, yes, I am talking to you. If my words collide with your passions, your weaknesses or your fears, I am talking to you.
Nothing makes me happier than writing a You Matter column. Nothing brings me greater pleasure than to publicly speak truth about someone in this community who is a gift, simply for existing. My gesture and ministry to make every day people aware of their awesome presence on this Earth is who I am at the core. So, if you see yourself in one of my ordinary columns, be assured that the resemblance is coincidence at best. Nonetheless, I spent many years reading works from authors I cherish and seeing myself in their writing. Recognizing my flaws, my gifts and hearing that still small voice in my head whispering that I can change. You can change. Perhaps I am talking to you after all.