I received so many good wishes from close and not-so-close friends when I launched Not A Pretty Picture last weekend.
There were two types of responses, really:
- People started sharing their experiences with mental health matters, whether their own or of someone they know.
- People complimented me on being brave and having the balls to do this.
Yes, I was really nervous before I put up the Facebook post about this initiative. Creating the blog and writing the content was easy.
Sharing it on such a public platform where 80% of the people I am connected to probably don’t give a rat’s ass about me was nerve wracking.
Of course I had concerns of what they would say. Because the content on my blog is very real, very raw.
I made myself vulnerable to the public. I gave my naysayers and haters ammunition to attack me.
“No wonder she is like that lah.”
“Wah, say such things ah? Air all her dirty laundry.”
“Good. I’m glad she has shit to deal with.”
Ok, first of all – no one has said anything like that to me. These are just the kind of concerns one might have when they go public for such personal matters.
I went in knowing full well, there will always be detractors and unsupportive people.
But I was pleasantly surprised by many of the people who sent me private messages saying that they were so proud / happy / encouraged that I was doing something like this.
Many of these people whom I would not have expected to even give a glance to my post.
If I had not chosen to post it on Facebook and instead, had decided to just whatsapp or private message my closer friends, these other not-so-close friends who had sent me such positive notes, would never have known about this initiative.
I’m glad I decided to be brave.
But I also acknowledge why I get to be brave:
1. At this moment, I am in a situation that allows me to flip my middle finger at anyone who intentionally chooses to be nasty to me.
I do not know what 10 years later holds, maybe this will come back to bite me in the ass one day. But if I were to think like that, I would never do something that I feel very strongly about now.
2. I am not an employee. I run my own small business. I do not have to take into account what my employer might think.
Yes, I have concerns about what clients would think, but I have the “luxury” of picking my clients, hence not working with such close-minded people.
3. I have a supportive husband. He is intimately aware of mine and my family’s struggles and he is a saint. That said, he isn’t just emotionally supportive, he pretty much takes care of the household expenses.
But for those who are the main breadwinners for their family, but who have such stories to share, I can understand the fear of the repercussions of being so open with their situation.
I’m pretty sure that if I had to rely on a full-time job to make ends meet, if I were all alone, I would not have been so “brave”. Let alone have the time to do this.
Well, what I want to say is this.
My fellow caregivers and anyone who has to deal with mental health matters, you are brave too.
Every day, you have to find a way to deal without losing your own selves.
Every day, you have to do things that you’d rather not be doing.
Every day, you are sacrificing something for your loved ones.
You are brave. You are seen.