by Guest Blogger, F.R.M.W ǀ @f.r.m.w

I moved back to Los Angeles with the sole purpose of relearning myself and starting over.

I’ve always been one to habitually distance myself when I was going through anything personal. I had an epiphany at a funeral in February; I realized I was unsatisfied, unhappy, and I needed change. A couple months later, in early June, I moved back to Los Angeles with the sole purpose of relearning myself and starting over. I packed up my mere belongings, which intangibly included the severed ties from an abrupt breakup and the constant reminder of mortality that came with spiraling health conditions. I became self-absorbed. I knew I had to change that mindset, but I didn’t know how. All I knew was I didn’t want any of my friends or family to see me like this; so I spent as much time possible alone.

I found comfort in coffee shops, a sense of safety in the silence of a cemetery or an empty church parking lot, peace on a park bench. The more time I spent alone, the more observant I became with things and individuals whom I would usually hardly notice in passing.

A man is buying roses for his significant other, while a woman in the same store is buying roses for her significant other’s grave. The teenager gawking over a cute classmate’s social media post, meanwhile a woman is on the phone discussing the finalization of her divorce. Public transit carries a miserable and jaded man on his way home to a wife who loves him more than he’ll ever know, as he sits across from an overjoyed child, bouncing in his seat until the bus drops him off outside of his broken and abusive home.

These realizations came quite abrasively, but I am so grateful for the new sense of enlightenment I have found. Being a witness to the unbiased reality of the lives we live as human beings will keep me forever humbled. We often forget to empathize or attempt to relate to those around us. We assume strangers can’t, or won’t, understand what we are going through; when in all honesty – the rudiments of all life is simply survival. We are all the same and we are all just trying to maneuver through life and survive. This is something you won’t realize until you let yourself be susceptible and empathetic to what is around you.

The more I learned about others the more I learned about myself.

I was able to relearn myself by getting to know a stranger. The more I learned about others the more I learned about myself. I found that I was most truthful when talking to someone I would probably never see again, sometimes my own unfiltered truth shocked even myself.
This is the origin of the social movements #WeAreAllTheSame and #GettingToKnowAStranger .

The Her Heart Poetry theme for this month is ‘Give Hope’, something we should all aim to do throughout the holiday season. A collaboration of sentiments coinciding with the #GettingToKnowAStranger and #WeAreAllTheSame movements.

While #GettingToKnowAStranger and #WeAreAllTheSame were created to reveal that we are all going through our own troubles and hardships, Give Hope, focuses on and reemphasizes the positive counterpart. You have the power to give hope to every individual you come across, just as they have the ability to give you the same if you let them. The goal for this months theme is to create and compile written pieces that leave the reader feeling hopeful as they get to know a stranger during this holiday season.

Remind them as you remind yourself – there is always room for hope and appreciation.

While the holidays should be a time for joy and giving, there are many out there who do not have much joy to share, and even more of us who don’t have very much to give; but giving someone a sense of hope will always be free. Reciprocate a smile, pay it forward, simply acknowledge someone’s existence – actions almost effortless. I challenge everyone, writers and not, to leave as many people as you can just the slightest bit more hopeful than they were, prior to your interaction. Remind them as you remind yourself that despite any hardships we may be going through both individually and as a society – there is always room for hope and appreciation. There are opportunities of hope and gratitude everywhere, if you just keep an open mind and an open heart.

F.R.M.W ǀ @f.r.m.w
F.R.M.W is a Los Angeles based writer.  She is currently working on her first novel.  F.R.M.W is a guest judge for The Writers Corner (December Ed.) and this story is designed to inspire your submissions this month.

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