It's funny how things work out sometimes.
A couple of weeks ago, I sat here at my desk feeling sorry for myself - I seem to have had a series of "those weeks" lately, when everything all goes wrong at once - this particular week in question saw my car get towed and me have to make the decision not to pay for its release (because it cost more than the car was worth and I just couldn't afford it!), numerous unexpected bills drop through my letterbox, my health decline with pregnancy related conditions and so on...just one of those very annoying weeks when everything seems to really get on top of you and drag you down.
During that week, I sat down at my computer desk full of self pity and wrote a post - it was a post mostly about my experiences of being bullied throughout school, how much that experience continues to effect my social confidence today and how I often still feel very much like an outsider in social situations.
Within that post, I discussed how I even felt isolated within the blogger community - that this community so packed full of amazing and creative people who so inspire me on a daily basis, who I look up to and admire so much somehow feels a little out of reach to me even though it's a community I'm a part of - that somehow that anxious soul inside me and the self-doubting voice of the bullied teenager who continues to live in my head tell me constantly that I don't fit in, people don't like me, that sure I have a few friends that I speak to but I'm not one of the "popular" people and I never will be...in the real world and in the blogging community.
I decided against publishing that post at the last minute as I happened to see a very similar one about bullying written by another blogger, and I felt they were too alike - so I shelved it, and moved on.
The next post I wrote came after another particularly bad week - a post entitled An Open Letter From The Bathroom Floor - which reached more people than I ever expected or intended it to.
And how very ironic what happened next is.
As a result of that post, that very same blogger community that I had worried I was isolated from, that I felt I desperately wanted to be a part of but didn't feel I was...reached out to me.
A group of them came together and, for entirely selfless reasons, with nothing in it for them whatsoever - decided it would be a nice thing to do to reach out to me and show their support.
They organised a surprise for me - they clubbed together and spent days sorting out what they would do, how they would organise it, and so on.
I received that surprise this weekend - and what an enormous surprise it was!
I opened a parcel upon arriving home from a night away, and was shocked to find the most beautiful bouquet of flowers along with a box of chocolates and a lovely scented candle...with a note explaining it was from my blogger friends.
I was incredibly touched at how thoughtful they'd been.
I then opened a letter - and found it was a card, signed from so many bloggers, and featuring individual words of encouragement, support, kindness and friendship - words that moved me to tears, that I had to read over and over again just to take in how truly wonderful they were.
As if that wasn't enough (And of course it was!) the next letter I opened was a gift card containing a large amount of shopping vouchers.
I went online to write a heartfelt thank you to those people, and was met with yet another surprise - that they had transferred money to my Paypal account to enable me to take some "maternity leave" after picking up on a sentence in my post where I had stated that I couldn't afford to do this.
I was floored.
I could not (and still cannot) believe that a group of people had come together to show so much support, so much generosity, so much care.
I tried and tried to thank them, but nothing feels enough - they gave me such an incredible gift.
Yes they gave me beautiful flowers which make me smile each morning, they gave me yummy chocolates and a beautiful candle which made my evening so much nicer - they gave me vouchers and money which has relieved so much pressure on me to keep working continuously once baby arrives - I can now take actual time off and know that the basics such as food and electric are covered without having to panic.
But they also gave me so much more than that - they gave me support, hope and the one thing that ever since my schooldays I have always felt that I lacked much of and always so desperately wanted to feel - they gave me friendship.
And for that I simply can't thank them enough.
I'm not sharing this post to wax lyrical about how lucky I am or to boast about the incredible gift I received - I'm sharing it because I think it sends a very important message.
So often there are people in our lives who are struggling for one reason or another, and so often we notice and we have the best intentions of reaching out to offer support or a shoulder to cry on but for whatever reason life gets in the way or we feel that perhaps our attention will be unwanted or it would be better not to get involved - but let me tell you, when you're feeling isolated and alone - somebody reaching out to you makes a world of difference.
I feel so fortunate that I belong to such a wonderful community of so many kind hearted people who saw fit to reach out and offer their friendship to me, but I also feel sad for the other ladies who commented on my original post or emailed me and told me of the way they're feeling...isolated, alone, scared...these may well be people in your own lives and nobody should feel that way.
So please, if there's someone you suspect may be feeling this way - do take the time to reach out to them. No grand gestures needed, just send them a message...just ask if they're ok. You don't know how much difference that might make to them.
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