I am just a human, struggling, like most of us, to get by in this world. I started to write things down to cope with some big feelings and now I'm sharing them.

I can't enumerate the amount of times I have been laughed at, made fun of, or scoffed at for the love and care that I show to creatures, plants, and the world around me. I have a big heart and yes, most of the time it is worn on my sleeve. However, while most may consider me dramatic and nutty – may consider this care a weakness – I consider it a strength.

Maybe my heart isn't on my sleeve. Maybe it is covering my chest, my arms, my hands and my thighs like a self made armor against a world that is cruel and unforgiving. Or... maybe I have taken this heart of mine and extended its use beyond just armor. Maybe it has also become a weapon, perfectly personalized for me. Brandishing it gives me the courage, tenacity, and spirit to fight back against a world so unforgiving for the people and creatures who can not fight for themselves.

So... laugh at me if you wish. Consider my heart a weakness. But, recognize that I do not. Know that I pity those who do not know the strength in kindness and love, or the bravery developed from wearing their heart outside of their chest. Because really, what is more brave than placing the most fragile part of you, your life's blood, out on display for the world to see and for anyone to attempt to reach out and damage?

some people find strength in domineering, in acting so formidable that they are “level headed” or “rational”. They believe that this gives them power. But where is the strength in hiding? At its core, the desire for control and dominance is rooted in crippling fear. To go through life without passion, locking your heart away so that no one might damage it, is to live a life of cowardice. And when you lock your heart away long enough, when you deprive it from light, joy, and kindness, eventually you will find that it will suffocate. You will be left with a small, shriveled remnant of what once was, and love will seem like a long forgotten dream.

The Struggle of the Shade

I have always been so ashamed and afraid of taking. Because if I am taking they will think I have nothing to give. And if I have nothing to offer then I AM NOTHING. I am invisible, a shade in the background, unnoticed and inconsequential.

The irony is that I give, and I give so readily that I am turning myself into the ghost I was so afraid of being. I give so that others will see me, love me, and keep me around, but when I look in the mirror, I don't see me.

When I look in the mirror, there is nothing but a hollow husk. A shell that once housed a vibrant soul that burned brightly, and a kind spirit that loved so often and so fiercely. The problem with something that burns so brightly is that it burns out in a flash.

So, can this ever be rectified? Can you ever get back the very essence of your soul after you've given so much away? Must you learn to take – Take away from someone else as everyone has taken from you?

If that is what it takes to be whole I believe I will always be empty.