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Just to be Heard

For Heather Hubler's "Write me a letter" Challenge

By Stephanie HoogstadPublished 4 months ago 3 min read
Just to be Heard
Photo by Hazel Aksoy on Unsplash

Author's Note: This piece was written for Heather Hubler's "Write me a letter" Challenge, which can be found at this link:

Dear Heather,

I don’t know you. I don’t know anyone on this platform, really, and you don’t know me, but I need somebody to talk to. I don’t expect you to respond or to even fully understand why I’m writing to you; I just want you to listen.

I’ve been so alone lately, stuck in an isolation zone of my own creation. It’s so quiet, so cut off from the world—and at first, that was what I wanted. I had been bogged down by having to change my emotions so often for each person and each situation, trying to hide my true self either to not hurt others or to not be hurt myself. It was safe in my cocoon. It was predictable. I could be myself and not have to worry about the consequences. Yet hiding away to recuperate soon became hiding away from fear of being judged for what I had become: someone detached from the wider world.

I still have this exhaustion interacting with others, but now, I don’t know how else to interact. I have lost touch not just with the world outside of my bubble. I don’t even know who I am anymore. I don’t know who that person is inside of me that I’m trying to protect from the wider world—the sensitive person, the dreamer, the person who could create alternate worlds in her mind in an instant just by what she had observed in her own in a passing glance, the person who loved people even as they tired her out so quickly. The person who both loved and hated the world for all its faults, who saw the darkness in the light and the light in the darkness and embraced it all for what it was, a part of this big, beautiful planet we called Earth.

I don’t know that person anymore, just who she once was, and I know that my writing and my life have suffered for it.

I don’t know anything except that I have lost my place in the world and until I find myself again, I won’t be able to get it back.

But why am I telling you, a complete stranger? Surely, I should be telling a loved one or a therapist. They would be able to help me pull out of my cocoon and rejoin the world, to be able to find the person that I once was.

The problem is that I have tried. I have tried therapy, and while it helped some, it is far too expensive. I have talked to loved ones, and while they want to help, they have their own problems, too. Who am I to expect someone who is broken to help fix another?

And then we come to their responses: go out there and meet new people. Find your tribe. I want to tell them, “If it were that easy, don’t you think I would have done it already?”

It’s not that easy. It’s never that easy.

So why, then, would I bother to tell some stranger on the Internet? What good would that do me?

Perhaps it’s just the fact that someone, even if it’s just one person, will read this that gives me comfort. Perhaps it makes me feel connected to the wider world again. Perhaps it makes me feel less alone.

Perhaps it makes me feel heard.

Putting this out into the universe, it gives me hope that I might be able to find my connection to the outside world and to myself once again.

I don’t need someone to tell me what to do. I just need someone to listen to me.

Thank you for being that person.

Sincerely Yours,



About the Creator

Stephanie Hoogstad

With a BA in English and MSc in Creative Writing, writing is my life. I have edited and ghost written for years with some published stories and poems of my own.

Learn more about me:

Support my writing: Patreon

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Comments (4)

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  • Celia in Underland4 months ago

    I am so sorry I missed this x I heard ideep in my soul x Sometimes, most times its easier to speak to anonymous than someone you know. And the coccon is much safer 🤍 I can listen anytime from the inside of my little self-protecting hideyhole - Here id you need/want 🤍

  • Naveed 4 months ago

    Your writing skills are truly impressive. I loved it.

  • Heather Hubler4 months ago

    I will listen anytime, Stephanie :) I hear you and I see you. I feel lonely all the time too for different reasons. It's hard to be in that place and see a way through. Some days I think I've succeeded in being 'seen'. Most of the time I feel invisible. There are so many great people on this platform and on social media groups for this site. You don't have to run out and make new friends, but engaging on here is a wonderful way to feel a bit more connected. If I don't seem present, get my attention, lol. Write me another letter, or comment on one of my stories. I'll make time ;) Thanks for this wonderfully vulnerable and heartfelt piece.

  • Hannah Moore4 months ago

    I heard you.

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