You might want to find a seat and get comfy because it’s going to take a minute or two to explain. There are snacks and beverages on the table, so help yourselves. If you don’t know everyone here, say”hi” to your neighbors. More formal introductions can go in the comments. (Whew! It’s a good thing I’ve been expecting so many and I was prepared.)
At first, I thought about breaking down the name and explaining the obvious phrases, like “Listen to the Warm” and “Soul Food,” yadda, yadda, yadda. But you all probably don’t need it to be that elementary. Plus, it would just be so B-O-R-I-N-G. So, all that stuff’s been put in “resources” at the end of the post. Instead, I’d rather share my hopes for what we build here, and why it matters to me.
There are six things I’m hoping we can all contribute to here, and they are:
- Encouragement. For us to encourage each other when we’re “stuck.” We’ve all been there — that place where we need a little nudge to move on, whether it’s to a new stage of life, or a new adventure, or getting past some kind of healing stuckness. Whatever the reason, some of us will stop by when we need that little bit of encouragement to get past anxiety or fear or whatever’s keeping us from moving on in our lives.
- Emowerment. Aren’t you all sick of the word “empower?” It’s been overused, but there may not be a better word. What it means here is: providing information, resources and our own experiences to help strengthen an opinion when we’re feeling wishy washy about it. It’s for those times when we intuitively know how we feel is right, but have nothing logical we can think of to back it up, leaving us kind of unsure about our own opinion.
- Education.. Sometimes we need to be educated. There is so much information that could ease the path along life’s journey. Let’s spare everyone we can the feelings of being lost or drowning, trying to figure it out on their own. Maybe we’ll even end up with a bunch of nifty, organized resources.
- Empathy. Have you ever had a time when you simply need to share, and know someone has heard and understood you? I’m pretty sure everyone has. Empathy is one of the most important kinds of Soul food we can share. Hopefully, we’ll do a lot of what’s called “mindful” or “active” listening here as we get to know each other, building trust and community.
- Entertainment. If all else fails, we can share a story, or maybe some silliness from the web in an effort to entertain. It’s bound to happen that some of us will be drop by when we could use a really good laugh. We all forget sometimes how easily that lifts our moods. Besides, we need to keep things from getting so heavy that nobody wants to come back!
- Engagement. When we’ve been doing all that for a while, as word spreads and this place grows, we can add a community forum for everybody to engage by sharing stories, thoughts and questions — and maybe some scrumptious recipes and pet pics. It might take a while for all of us to be ready and willing to show up and have all kinds of conversations, but we’ll get there.
The reason I’m willing to do my part in all this is because, for quite some time now, I’ve felt called to reach out and help support others. As I struggled with my past and the effects it had on my present, there were many people I was fortunate to meet: sponsors, therapists, doctors, strangers who became friends. They all helped me in their own way as I worked to move on, my life becoming something beyond my issues. I believe that, by using this site as a safe place to encourage, empower, educate, empathize, entertain and engage “freaks and other people,” I’ll be fulfilling that passion to help others.
What do you think about the website? Do you think this will work? How about sharing by leaving your thoughts and any questions you have in the comments?
(If you need to share something private, please use the form on the Contact page.)
- “Listen to the Warm” is a poem by Rod McKuen, the first poet whose work I fell in love with. This particular poem speaks of “letting a little hurt in sometimes, because it let’s you know you’re alive.”
- Soul Food: The things our Souls need so they’re not malnourished, underdeveloped or deprived
- Wiktionary: Freak The Wiktionary definition of “Freak.” The Wiktionary is updated frequently and often reflects more contemporary definitions than a standard dictionary. ( However, I am currently in a battle to update the definition, making it less derogatory.)
- “What Makes You a Freak is Inside of Your Heart” a poem by Pace Smith of Freak Revolution
- Are You a Freak? A personality test to see if you really are a freak.