When I was first introduced to Medium, it was at a time in my life when I really needed an outlet to massage my skills as a writer. It was late summer of 2013; exactly a year ago today, and I was about to quit my corporate job when I was summoned by my managers and HR, who informed that I was being let go.
I already knew it was coming.
The job had evolved into a nightmare for reasons that weren’t regulated just to my inability to perform my duties. I had been warned by my predecessor that if I accepted the role, I would be walking into hostile territory, but my naivety served me wrong. I was convinced that I could overcome any obstacles in my way.
I was dead wrong.
But my bad fortunate turned out to be a blessing because I used my lack of employment as the perfect excuse to finally focus on my writing — full time.
As luck would have it a new friend introduced me to her friend, and she ended up playing a vital part in my development. She was managing a collection on a relatively new platform that was “invitation only,” and so she extended an invite — and just like that my life changed forever.
Five years later, I’m endearingly grateful to the friend who became a mentor and one of the most prolific editors of my career.
She singlehandedly re-shaped my messaging in ways that encouraged fearlessness and the audacity to be inspiringly transparent. I excitedly claimed the right to be selfishly persuasive in my delivery, and when moments came up when I wasn’t sure if I could “go there” — she challenged me to drop the flowery words and adopt a forthright approach.
Under her tutelage, and the insulation of a very different Medium that seemed to be curtailed to my mood swings, and thus provided the perfect playground for a writer like me — I was suddenly reveling in a free and safe space — that blessed me with the authority to express the kind of shit I would ordinarily never share in public.
But that was then, and this is now.
Now, I’m on my own, and Medium is no longer safe, and I’m in deep mourning.
As they say, it was good while it lasted.
I’m not only in turmoil, but I’m bitterly resentful, that the day I always feared has finally arrived. The day that I would be reminded that as a writer who writes about everything, anything, and anybody, I’m privy to the attack that’s reserved for those who dare to let it all out — for better or worse.
I have to be prepared that people from my past will wonder what I’m up to and probably Google-stalk until they find the ammunition they need to reach out after years of non-communication in an effort to confront and threaten.
I’m not perfect in my pursuits, and writing about my experiences whether their positive or not is the only way I can formulate a system of therapy, that I seek for closure. And while I naively assumed that my work was protected from the roving eyes of subjects, it’s still disorganizing and assaulting to be abruptly reminded, that I can’t continue to pretend that my love for writing will save me from the consequences of unfiltered testimonies.
I’m writing this as a way to heal the halo of depression that settled days ago — when my bullet proof vest disappeared and I was faced with what happens when your vulnerability on the worldwide web betrays your trust.
It’s time to wise up.
I’m not going to stop expressing my thoughts in the only way I know how, and I can’t be silenced or coerced from using my words as an escape or documentation of life’s events as I remember it.
Hurt feelings are part of the process.
And while I would rather have an invitation to a conversation rather than a rude invasion of emotions that leaves me perplexingly bothered — as I visualize the time and effort that was expended to track down the evidence of my “dishonesty,” — the ugly times we’re embodying on social media platforms have ultimately proven the need for tougher skin.
There’s also the measurement of character and how extreme situations showcase the truth, even when it’s blindingly destructive.
So I have accepted that for as long as I continue to depend on my craft for survival, I have to also understand that I will get caught off guard by random interference, that’s meant to derail and possibly frighten me, but I will not let it curtail my ability to thrive.
Somehow, saying I’m a writer feels more dangerous now than ever before, but I’m fine with risks because I can take it.
I have absolutely nothing to lose because I’ve gained so much, and though my heart is full, there’s still room for more.
That’s what love is.
Dedicated to my friends who let me be me — even when it’s the absolute worst!