By: Kevin Sheehan,
Nothing makes me happier than knowing that people out there actually read my articles, and better yet, actually think about them. As promised, here are some responses from people who have read my articles. It does make me happy that some of the people who responded are dear friends of mine, as I am happy that I am able to help them in any way I can.
(This comment was regarding the very first Etched in Ink article, published on May 24th, 2017. The tattoo in question is “I Forgive You” written backwards on my chest, so that I am able to read it in a mirror.)
We all have pasts. Some of us more dark than others. I was able to continue forward day by day, most of the time by hiding or trying to forget that past. The problem tended to be that the more I hid, the more I carried. Weights I dragged everywhere I went. Only my closest friends could see it. The point is, without getting very long winded, this article in particular spoke to me. It was incredible. I saw the picture at the opening and had no clue what it said. Then I read some and saw….. genius. It was for me to see. It wasn’t for me to understand. It’s a tattoo for you. Or it was. But it became a tattoo for me also. It became a message I can’t forget. Forgiveness is such a hard thing. I’ve forgiven so many others, but I just lived with myself. Ashamed to even think of some of the things I did. You can’t live life like that. Your article inspired me, not to action, but to think. To ponder. To examine myself and truly ask had I forgiven myself. Thank you. I still share this article with anybody who means anything to me. I shared it with Mandy a few weeks ago. I still have things I have to forgive and move on from daily, but it’s a process. Thank you again my friend, my brother.
(This next one really warmed my heart. This is a friend I met in passing but keep in contact with who has had a very rough year. I try to call them to encourage them when I can, and I guess it works! The fact this person responded was enough to make me happy, but what they said made me even happier.)
As I have read your articles week after week, you have provoked a lot of deep thoughts. Some thoughts have led to debilitating anxiety, while some have led to progressive ideas to change my way of life completely. When I think about the debilitating anxiety, I can think back to an article that made me question why I am still here. Why do I continue to not only suffer alone, but cause the people around me such stress and feelings of anger on a daily basis? Why? Just why do this anymore? And without fail, on the days where I am feeling the lowest, on days when I think that I may actually finish it all, you always call me. There’s always a conversation and then there’s a feeling of, well, someone in my life isn’t negatively impacted by my presence. It is in that moment, that I think about the exact article in a different light. I could look at this very article and find that it’s not necessarily myself that is the problem. It’s that I am in a situation that affects me vastly, but I make minimal efforts to change my surroundings. It’s the same articles that causes me to sit in dark corners, that will push me to find the strength to make the changes that I need make. I have read all the things that you have faced. Addiction, family stresses, financial issues. And if you pulled through, I know I can pull through. You stopped drinking, you quit energy drinks, you finished your degree. You have something to be proud of. Those are feelings I want. So with your words on paper, and your words over the phone, I have made goals for myself that I have never made before. I will move forward and continue my move away from my verbally abusive ex. I will choose to drink more water than soda on a day to day. And I will finish my degree just to say I did it.
Thank you Kevin. For your words and for your kindness.
Thank you so much for your submissions, those who were printed this week and those who were not. I would put more if I had the space. However, I chose these two because it truly signified what this column is for. I never mean to come off haughty about any of my accomplishments, but I want to encourage people that they have the strength within themselves. I never believed in myself before, and I still struggle now, but I believe in you. And at the very least, this column is doing what I intended it to do: Make people think.
When people provide feedback on my articles, it shows me that the column is completing its purpose. When people simply say the words, “I thought about it,” the column is completing its purpose. When someone reads what I wrote, and then makes a move to improve their life based off of it, then I am completing my purpose in life.
2018 will bring many changes to all of us. The question is, what change will you bring to 2018?
Be sure to be on the lookout for the book featuring a compilation of writings by this author releasing early this year! Title and release date coming soon!