Your differences are not defects

I was nineteen and in my first year at university.
This was the end of just another night.
The door of my little single room closed behind me and,
locked in the safety of its walls
I slumped, slowly
to the floor
and sobbed.
When there was nothing left 
but a dry crust of salt around my eyes
I slept, exhausted 
from another day confused by life
and my place within it I couldn’t seem to find.
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I’d gone along, as I always did
to the club where ‘everyone went’.
Awkward, I stood
with a drink in my hand I didn’t want
but too afraid to be without the comfort of something 
anything 
to hold on to.
As if that glass might somehow save me from the night.
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Too much noise.
Too many people.
I didn’t dare dance.
But still,
I stood
and smiled
and nodded in false understanding when someone screamed something in my ear.
Ears that would later ring into the empty night.
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My tears were ones of confusion, self-loathing 
and anger at life.
I had never been told
I had never learned
that my differences weren’t defects 
but divine gifts
that
when properly understood 
could be used for unimaginable good.
Indeed,
I had never even known my differences as differences 
only this pervasive sadness
and feeling of being
wrong.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
A decade more would need to pass before,
finally,
I would begin to understand 
and I would learn
slowly slowly 
to give myself the permission others hadn’t known to offer
that it was ok
and also desirable
to be myself.
To love the quiet
and the solitude
and the hours of reflection and seeking
always wanting to go deeper into this mystery of life.
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I have only ever longed
to be myself
and to share the world as I see and feel it
extending a hand as I travel to all those who are yet to know 
that their differences are not defects
but divine gifts 
that 
when properly understood 
can be used for unimaginable good.

Love and courage,

Leah

Treating disordered eating with compassion

I remember how I used to stand in the queue at the supermarket checkout, a never-ending stream of judgement flowing through about the rubbish people were buying, about the state of their bodies. It was disgusting to me. They were disgusting to me.

And all the while I was struggling with my own disordered eating.

The world is a beggar and it longs for your song

It was spring and I was standing on a path in the cemetery, mesmerised by a robin perched atop a gravestone, singing his song at full throttle.

I was close enough to see his little throat dance as the sweet notes left his beak and swirled out into the wild tangle of this place.

How unapologetically he sings his song, I thought. Such confidence. Such power. I'm certain it has never crossed his mind to be insecure about his song. I'm certain he has never tried to sing more like the blackbird in some strange confusion that his song is better. I'm certain he does not chant twenty positive affirmations about his worth each morning before he sings.

He is 'just' a robin and he 'just' sings and we are all blessed by its beauty.

By contrast, so many of us sit atop our perches, too afraid to open our mouths. Too many strange ideas have entered our minds.

We want to know if there is a right way to sing. We want to know if there is a right time to sing. We want validation that our song is a 'good' one, that we won't be laughed out of the cemetery. In some cases, we've even lost sight of the fact that we have a song at all.

If the world were a beggar, he is waiting for you to drop only one thing into his cap as you pass him on the street - your song - and as you do so it's as if you dropped all the golden coins of the universe into his cap and he immediately ceases to beg and sits back in a state of full content, smiling, for your unique and unapologetic song was everything he longed for.

We exist in a remarkable mystery. We are both life and the experiencers of life. We are one consciousness cast into millions of beautiful songs, each and every one a gloriously unique expression of the whole. We are a playlist with no beginning and no end.

The beauty of life is that there is no right song, there is no right time to sing, and there's no one with any authority to judge your song as 'good' or 'bad', although some may try. Your song is always perfect by very virtue of the fact that it is yours and yours alone.

The world longs for you to know this deeply in your heart and to sing.

Sing.

Sing.

Love and courage,

Leah