Article: Write Makes Right (The Inherent Value Of Sharing Our Experiences)

On #SoSS last week I was able to gain an idea of the struggles of blind individuals, the sense of heartbreak when trans existence, desirability, and body-image clash, and the process of recovery post-hysterectomy for uterine cancer. I was able to do this because people like you or I, people who exist somewhere in the world, decided to share their lived experiences, even the ones that are sometimes painful or less than ideal, and this is so friggin important.

When you come to my site I like to think it’s because you are interested in a product or topic and want to know a bit more about it. This is absolutely fantastic, and obviously bodes well for me. Thank you so much, by the way, for choosing to be here but here’s the thing: At the end of the day I’m no different to you in terms of worth or value. My opinion doesn’t matter more or less. Granted, my words have the backing of experience, but I gained that experience because one day I thought to myself ‘You know what, I think I’d like to let people know what I thought about this product’ and then I did just that.

At the time I had no idea what my opinion was worth, or what sharing it might lead to, but that didn’t matter – what matters is that I shared it and, you know what? That opinion has tons of value, and so does yours.

This is because no matter how worried you are about sharing your thoughts – no matter if it’s been ‘done before’, or you feel like it’s just mundane, or you’re just not sure if people will like you – I can assure you that what you bring to the table when you write does have value, because you do.

So what if a topic has been done before? Firstly, it’s great from one perspective because you have prior resources to turn to should you wish. But, either way, what someone else has to say about one topic or thought, or idea, will be entirely different to what you have to say because that person is not you. They can’t talk from your perspective, only you can, so what you say will have an inherent uniqueness and a youance (a ‘you’ nuance) that no one else can bring to the table.

Is it mundane? Fantastic! It’s relatable. People love to make connections, they love feeling like they’re a part of someone’s life. And life, for the most part, is kind of ‘mundane’. But the reason ‘mundane’ moments are just that is because we gain some form of value from repeating them. Get a bunch of people together and no matter where the convo goes at some point chances are we’ll all want to know how each other’s day has gone, because deep down we know that the mundane is where life is. Not every moment can be sky dives and sun bathing, after all, and, if it were, then that would be the new mundane anyway, so never be afraid to share your normality.

As for whether or not people will like you? Out of your control. Some people are going to think you’re the sweetest person on earth. Some people will find you to be an intolerable jackass. And you’ll run the spectrum too from day-to-day.

I mean, is there anyone in our lives that we every truly like 24/7 100%? Even the ones we love the most can cause highs and lows for us at times, and no one is all positivity. It just doesn’t happen. So accept that you won’t be everyone’s cup of tea and refuse to cater to others. After all – it’s your voice and experiences that have value, not your desire to be liked (which is, by its own virtue, not something you control and is therefore not something you should base your identity on).

Besides, I can pretty much guarantee that somewhere someone will really enjoy what you have to say, even if you think you would have been better off publishing the crap your cockatoo did last night than whatever you decided to author at that moment.

This I can tell you from experience.

When I was an undergrad I was getting pretty much nothing but first-class marks on my papers except with one lecturer. To add to my frustration this lecturer was the one I liked the most, of a topic I felt the most confident in, for a module that I had the most knowledge on.

After one too many marks that were 1-2% off of my desired amount I decided ‘No more!’ and determined that my next submission would be the one to get a first.

And I spent literally weeks on that thing.

I got out every book I could conceive of. I made mind maps. I stole the entire floor of my co-habited tiny living space and tracked paintings in order of chronology, theme, and placement in my assignment. I was on-point, staying up until 3 or 4pm every night to try and get it done. One time, after a long bout cooped up, I went outside to get food shopping and actually laugh-cried when I saw a pigeon. I was that psychologically…how to put this? Fucked.

But I got it all done.

Then, and only then, did I realize that I had another equally long assignment due in literally the next day that I had done nothing for.

…Shit.

So I did what any good student would do: I went on Wikipedia, found a bunch of relevant artists that I knew I had some books and a good prior knowledge about, and blagged my way through a semi-coherent argument.

That assignment’s grade? First class.

The one I spent weeks on? 1% off of a first class mark.

I literally shouted ‘WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME!?!?!’ at the grading in public.

It was another pigeon moment.

So, what was the point of telling this story? I forget somewhat. Perhaps I just still have a lot of pent up frustration about that experience. God knows. Or maybe it’s just to avoid getting to pigeon moment points in an effort to please people. Just say what you have to say and have faith in the inherent value of your work.

Because, as I said at the start of this ramble, I would not have thought about nor learnt about any of the valuable things in my #SoSS post unless those people had decided that, when it came to that topic, they were going to write about what they had experienced and how they felt. And, had they not done that, my life would have been less connected, less aware, and less socially engaged as a result of that.

So never be afraid to share anything that’s on your mind. You have a story. Trust me. If you’re not confident that you have a platform then no sweat – use mine. Or find someone else who is equally interested in helping you get your voice out there.

Just know this – keeping how you feel about the struggles you face in life won’t help anyone, not least yourself. Because, at the end of the day, sharing is a cathartic experience. I feel better every time I let someone know about my undergrad breakdown, and I feel better when I talk about my Vaginismus, my experiences with abuse, or my veganism.

Because we like sharing, and we gain value from it too, just as those around us do.

And if anyone tells you otherwise then don’t entertain them. They’re the person who hasn’t acted, why let them tell you what it’ll be like if you do?