I have always been a talker. My whole life I have been the person in my family that just never shuts up. A typical drive to or from school with my mother consists of three hours worth of me going on tangents, switching from topic to topic. My friend Angie and I sit on FaceTime for upwards of four hours at a time talking about anything and everything. Every goodbye is extended by fifteen minutes because I just have to mention “one last thing.” I quite literally always have something to say. While at times this has caused me distress by feeling like I am too much, I have also found it to be the thing that fuels me.
My friends and family all know that I am an open book. When talking with my grandmother about my grandfather's alcoholism years ago she mentioned that sometimes people would ask her why she is so open about the situation. In reply, she told me that she would say “if no one ever talks about it, no one will know it’s normal.” While I'm not quite sure if she knew it at the time, this statement changed everything for me. There is so much truth behind those thirteen words. If everyone keeps the difficult things they face in the dark then how are we ever going to end the stigmas that exist all around us. While it definitely creates some awkward moments at times, discomfort is necessary for growth.
I talk about everything. My family problems, heartbreaks, eating disorders, body issues, insecurities, sexism, racism, everything. While I wouldn't say I've ever been a quiet girl, I now no longer let things slide. I challenge the rules and make sure people are held accountable for their actions. The things we say hold a lot of weight and can impact people immensely even if that isn't our intention. My goal is to teach people something. Whether that's basic human decency or just letting others know that they aren't alone in what they are going through. Sometimes people get uncomfortable when I talk about my experiences, but if I am able to help someone understand that they’re not weird or broken or an outcast for how they’re feeling then I’m going to do it.
In addition to helping others, speaking up has also helped me. I have noticed a huge difference in the quality of my life since letting myself be free to just talk about what I think is important. After facing the difficulties in my life head first and no longer feeling ashamed of them, I have significantly improved my own happiness. Throughout this process, I have also been able to attract others like me and build a support system of people who understand and want to help.
Being depressed or anxious or having an eating disorder or an addiction isn’t embarrassing. It’s human and to fix these issues it is necessary to normalize those experiences or else we will never fully heal.