Go write something today, no matter how short.
Today, here is a short story of my own.
This house was large, with massive columns and intricate archways over the entrance; a pillar of the community that she was incredibly proud of. People would travel for miles see the amazing structure and marvel at its clean lines, well-maintained gardens, and shutters as blue as sapphires. The woman loved to hear how much people loved it, but she also had a secret that she didn't want anyone to know.
The inside was filthy. The walls were stained, the floors were cracked, and mold grew in the kitchen. No one was allowed to know about it, because if they did then no one would come to marvel at her amazing home.
She was terrified that someone would find out about the dirt on the inside, so she made sure that everyone's focus was on the breathtaking exterior. Everyone told her that beautiful house was something to be proud of and she enjoyed the praise lavished upon her. Admitting there was dirt on the inside was simply too hard, and spending time cleaning it up might draw attention to the fact that it was dirty. Attention to the interior was the last thing she wanted. Instead she planted tall bushes to hide the windows through which someone might be able to see in, and whenever someone said, "What a beautiful home! Is the inside as beautiful as the outside?" she simply responded, "It's a beautiful house, isn't it?" Acknowledging the inside at all might bring questions she wasn't willing to answer, and dodging those questions was something she got really good at over time.
One day, a man walked by and noticed a huge crack on one of the exterior walls. "Oh no," he thought, "this is too beautiful of a home to just let fall apart. I must say something." He knocked on the front door, and when the woman answered, he said, "Excuse me, ma'am, but did you know that you have a huge crack in your wall? Could something be degrading it from the other side? I'm a contractor, and sometimes cracks like that happen when the walls have been weakened somehow. Would you like me to look at it?"
The woman was frightened. If she allowed him in to see her filthy house, he would know that the beautiful house wasn't so beautiful. She couldn't let that happen, so instead she lashed out. "How dare you come here and tell me my beautiful house has a crack! People come from all over to see my house, it's a pillar of the community, and it's perfect! There can't be a crack! Leave me alone!"
The man was confused, surprised, and honestly a little hurt. He loved that house as much as the rest of the community, and only wanted to help. He knew that the only way to fix the crack was to get to the root of what was causing it. He expressed his concern to others, who first said, "That house doesn't have any cracks!" They were proud of it, too. It was a pillar of their neighborhood that drew visitors every day. It was their ready, constant answer, taught to them by the woman who lived there. The man urged them, "Look closer." Many came, and when they saw the cracks they didn't know what to do. Some knocked on the woman's door and asked if they could help, and the woman got angrier and angrier. "Who told you there were cracks in my walls? There are no cracks in my house! This place is perfect, a pillar of the community. People come from all over to see my beautiful house!" She always kept to the same story, saying the same words, because it kept the visitors coming. Her repetition is what taught the neighbors what to say in the first place.
The visitors continued to come, drawn by the stories of the beautiful house. Soon no one talked about the cracks any more because it only led to anger being rained down upon anyone who asked.
Years later, more and more cracks slowly filled the exterior as the dirt and grime weighed unchecked on the walls. People still said the house was beautiful, but it was mostly out of habit by that point. Until one day, a huge thunderstorm came through with winds as strong as a gale tearing through that small town, and that beautiful house; that pillar of the community that people came from all over to see; crashed to the ground and killed the woman inside. The walls had been so weakened that they simply couldn't weather the storm.
As the storm passed and recovery teams helped the neighbors clean up the remains of that once beautiful home, many had the same thing to say:
"You know it's a shame. This house was so beautiful. It was perfect. There was a day when it stood as a pillar of this community that people came from all over to see. I wonder why no one noticed the cracks and said anything."
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