I’ve done my best to be as completely open with my life as possible. Things have not always been that way though. There was a time not long ago that I hid, I lived in the shadows and sharing my struggles with people was not something I had ever thought about doing.

So, what led me to where I’m at now? What motivated and influenced me to be completely transparent with my life? Good, bad and ugly.

I’ll tell you, having secrets, hiding, lying, faking all of those things are exhausting. I found myself in a place of defeat. I found myself in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. And friends that kind of attention is not something that is very gratifying.

So, I made a decision. The decision to share. The decision to come out of hiding. The decision to share every negative thing that could possibly be said about me, in hopes that it would take away the power that I had given other people to hurt me.

Best. Decision. Ever. Somehow I transitioned from scum to someone that people looked up to, I went from nasty comments to people encouraging me to stay on the right track.

As humans we thrive based off of our connections. And when we disconnect from people we are more likely to suffer. Because who really wants to be alone?

Reading in the paper and seeing all the shared posts on Facebook about Brown County’s latest meth bust has really had me thinking. It breaks my heart, not just because of the obvious problem that is in front of these people, but because our society is so gossip driven that we see something and instead of reaching out to help, offering prayer or simply keeping our mouths shut we use things like this as an opportunity to humiliate the already humiliated, disconnecting them even further than the drugs already have.

Does this solve anything? Does making negative comments make drugs go away? What happened to compassion? What happened to one human being helping another?

If you saw someone get hit by a car would you keep driving or would you stop and help? I am in no way condoning the behavior I’m only saying that something motivated it. Something happened to these people that made them no longer want to feel life. And maybe, just maybe if we worked a little harder on understanding the why, we could understand the how on stopping it. Because I’ll tell you jail does not stop drugs. It’s temporary. It’s a band aid on an amputated leg.

So, today I challenge you to hold your tongue. Think before you speak. Ask yourself is what I’m saying helpful, respectful and kind? If that was your son, daughter, mother, father, sister, brother or God forbid even you, would you want a silent prayer or an open Facebook butt kicking contest?

Be the change. Think outside your comfort zone. See the big picture instead of what is right in front of you. 

Jessica Allen

Early