When I first started #wordsbyjules both on Instagram and this personal blog in 2015, it was really meant just to be a space to process and take steps towards healing. I felt like my world was crashing and I was drowning, so I started to write (or at least more so in a public kind of way). I wasn’t going for eloquent or pretty, I was going for real. I was going for honest. And as I started to write, each post was like little pockets of air bubbles that gave me a little more strength and eventually helped me swim back up above the water. God was doing a lot with me in that season. I was hurting, I was wrestling, I was uncomfortable, and I was constantly being challenged. I can’t even begin to count how many nights I would just lay in bed lights off with the covers over my body, and just weep until I was tired enough to fall asleep.
But then I realized somewhere along the way that I couldn’t be the only one battling with my thoughts, with the world, with the chaos that life sometimes unexpectedly delivers. Life gets hard. Life gets messy. There’s something about knowing that someone else is right there with you (whether you know them in real life or not) that gives you an inkling of hope as you’re navigating through your struggles. I told myself and the people around me that even if one person read and could relate to a blog post or a blurb, then it was worth it for me to spill out these words to the world; it meant that at least one person knew they weren’t alone in their journey.
That’s something that I vowed to never lose sight of: Being real and being honest, especially in a digital age, where’s there’s plenty of fake new and filters.
At the same time though, when you’re writing and putting your heart out for the world to read, you’re also piloting this space between internal privacy and external privacy. You are circumnavigating the notion that vulnerability is not necessarily full disclosure. I have had many of these types of conversations with close friends, and I think for a lot of us who are more in a creative/leadership/public space, it rings very true: There are a lot of people who think they know you. Even friends. Even people who might have your number and text you consistently. But I’ve come to learn that those who claim they know you the best actually don’t really know you at all.
The digital age is a weird thing. Social media is strange (and I’m saying this being someone who partly works in social media). It’s all a big fat catch 22. It helps people stay connected. But also at the same time, how much of that connection is even real or organic? How do you get to know the core essence of a person when conversations revolve around sending memes and emojis back and forth, and there’s no face-to-face time? How can we expect humans to dig deeper into their lives, when everyone is constantly distracted by all the noise?
I would be lying if I said it hasn’t been a difficult season because it has been. I used to try to pray these types of seasons away, but as I get older I’m also learning to embrace them a little more. Because in my exhaustion and tiredness, or as unpleasant and uncomfortable that it probably will get, I also know and trust that it’s part of the growing process.
I don’t know the reasons.
I don’t know the answers to all the questions. But what I do know is that every moment that breaks you, also makes you. All the tears that fall down like waterfalls, are also cleansing tears that slowly rid your heart of pain. We are all such broken people, but it’s what we do with that brokenness, that helps us move into our potential. Broken pieces glued together could create something entirely new. Someone more resilient. Someone stronger. Someone fiercer than before. Someone more beautiful.
But whatever you do, don’t ignore it. Ignoring your feelings doesn’t actually make them go away—they require acknowledgment and acceptance from you. When you let your pain sleep in you without addressing it head on, more pain comes to haunt you in the long run.
The purpose has always been growth—for you to grow, change, heal, and become the best version of who you were created to be.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO IT ALONE, BUT CHOOSE WISELY.
Surround yourself with people who are willing to ride the rollercoaster with you, eager to get their hands messy and unafraid to go into those deep dark places with you—People who won’t just say “I’m here for you if you need it,” but they will actually show up at your door and drag you out of bed, even when you’ve ignored every single one of their texts and phone calls. People who will sit in silence with you on long drives to the ocean and listen to you process literally everything even if it doesn’t make sense, then proceed to speak truth in your life. Surround yourself with the people who are literally right there, right by your side when the walls start crumbling down and the fires rage within.