BY ASHLEY TIEPERMAN

I recently shared a story about a topic that kind of makes my insides twist into a pretzel. Maybe you're here reading this because you've already read the story published on Upworthy about my experience with online dating.

Where exactly do you put the stuff about your baggage on an online dating profile?

Nowhere. And maybe that's a problem with online dating, I don't know. 

The point is, I don't think I can say I put my whole heart and soul into online dating. I've heard these glorious tales about friends finding their soul mates with a couple swipe rights. In my short amount of time trying it, that hasn't been my experience.

But I gave up because I don't know where to list the messy stuff about learning to love an addict. I can't exactly lead with depressing facts about my brokenness.

Recently, I went for a jalk. (Read more about learning to jalk over here.) Sidenote: I am single and not trying online dating while on this particular jalk. In the middle of my jalk, my phone rang and it was one of my best friends. It felt like she knew that I needed to talk while on this jalk because thoughts raced through my head about not feeling like enough.

I cried (read: wept) while talking (read: moaning) about how I would NEVER find ANYONE to love ME. I can't relate to profiles of bright white smiling people who love to walk golden retrievers. Is there more depth than just a dog lover? Probably. But it's so hard to see beyond these polished profiles.

I'm not enough, and I'm too much...all at the same time.

My friend might as well have reached through the phone and picked up all my broken pieces splattered on the pavement. She spoke the most beautiful and perfect words. She knew exactly what my heart needed to pull it together and rise up.

Without her beautiful words of encouragement, I'm not sure I would have pulled it together so quickly. I might have stayed moaning and wallowing, stuck in my hopelessness in believing that I would never find someone who could handle my stories.

I think that jalk was the messiest, yet most beautiful jalk I've ever been on.

I couldn't help myself get back up in my state of being. I couldn't do it alone. And it's beautiful that I couldn't muster up the strength on my own.

Because we aren't made to fix ourselves. We aren't made to rise up alone. We all need help getting back up, and we all need reminders to keep holding on.

I want to be that reminder for you. If you don't have someone to call, I hope that this club can reach you wherever you are in the cyber world. When good people help broken people rise, it's beautiful. It's what makes us friends.

Your stories of brokenness are not too much. Tell us your stories.

We're not here to dwell on the darkness, but we're not here to ignore your pain. 

We all carry baggage, heavy loads of stories that shape us into who we are today. Let's be real about the hurt. And let's meet other people who can say, "I know exactly what you've been through."

We're all on this journey together of learning to love. You can lay your baggage right here. And we'll help you carry that heavy profile.

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