I am the daughter who has been kicked out of the house and my parents have not come to look for me.
I am the woman who has three children and just lost my job.
I am the single mother raising two boys, their father is an alcoholic.
I am the man who moved a thousand miles away, to a new town, to be with the woman I love only to be tossed aside a few months later.
I am the woman whose husband has dementia.
I am the man who found out that my wife, the love of my life, has been having an affair and has fallen in love with the other man.
I am the woman whose boyfriend just said he doesn’t know if he wants to be monogamous.
I am the man whose parents told me I was going to hell because I'm homosexual.
I am the woman whose mother said "it's a shame what happened to her" even though she doesn't know me.
I am the man who has a lot of shame and guilt for hiring a business partner who ran my business into the ground. I let all of my other business partners down, one of which is my little sister.
I am the teenage girl who just found out I'm pregnant.
I am the child who told my parents I was going to run away and they laughed at me and said "go ahead."
I am the elderly woman who gave up on love decades ago because the search hurt too much.
I am the woman who has just been diagnosed with terminal cancer.
I am the deployed soldier who just learned my wife wants a divorce.
I am the pregnant woman carrying twins and my two year old, special needs child has just passed away. While trying to grieve for myself, I am simultaneously trying to remain strong for my oldest child.
I am the man who doesn't know why I feel depressed all the time even though everything is going okay in my life.
I am the 40 year old man who hasn’t been in a relationship in the 10 years since my divorce. I feel so lonely.
I am the insensitive man who lost the woman I love because I could never let my walls down. I just didn’t know how.
I am the man who has to bury my dog. He was my best bud for the last 15 years.
I am the teenage boy who has run to the chapel to cry with God because my girlfriend broke up with me. I don’t have anywhere else to turn for comfort.
I am the little boy who accidentally killed the house pet. I want to run away to spare everyone I love from the pain I cause. I think I always fuck everything up.
I am the child who just lost both parents.
I am the man who has recently discovered that he has disassociated sexual abuse from his childhood.
I am all of these people because I know what pain and suffering is. Pain and suffering is all the same underneath the form it takes. The more that we look at one another and think things like “I’m not as bad as them” or “They don’t have it as bad as me” the more we separate from each other and the more isolated we all feel.
Let me use my pain and suffering to help end the separation and to help others find comfort in the midst of despair.