The mission of The Real Us is two-fold:

  • To inspire: We want to give readers inspirational stories and poems by real-life role models
  • To heal: We want to give writers the chance to not only inspire others, but to digest their own experiences through writing

The Story of The Real Us

I’m Vironika Tugaleva, and I’m the founder of The Real Us. The story, which is still being written every day, goes something like this…

In my early twenties, I had a mental breakdown. Afterwards, I set off on a journey of self-discovery, trying to discover who I was and what I was capable of. Every single step along the way, I felt doubt, fear, and uncertainty. I had no real role models for what I wanted to do.

I wanted to be spiritual, but all of the spiritual gurus were either “gifted” or perfect. I wasn’t that.

I wanted to be natural and not wear makeup, but all of the “natural” women around me were also flawless. I wasn’t that.

I wanted to throw my message into the world, write a book, and speak to crowds, but all of the experts around me were fearless, accomplished, and calm. I wasn’t that.

I thought I was an alien.

Slowly, I began to share my stories with the world.

Each time I told a story that hurt to share, a story that I promised myself I’d never tell, I would be flooded with messages that said, “Me too!” I continued to share my past and my present, my fears and my flaws, my mistakes and my inadequacies. People would email me and say, “Me too!”

They would email. They wouldn’t comment publicly. And if I asked them to, many would go silent. This happened again and again.

In this process, I realized something heartbreaking.

I realized that we’re all trying so hard to be perfect that we forget to be real. And we don’t heal, grow, or get inspired by perfect. Perfect makes us feel helpless and confused. We don’t need perfect. We need real, because we are real.

Too often, the very stories that we sweep under the carpet, the stories that we think are too ugly to tell are the very stories that can change the world.

I started The Real Us in the summer of 2014 to give real people the chance to inspire others by sharing their stories of courage, healing, authenticity, and kindness. I wanted this blog to be about people looking at each other face-to-face rather than from up above. This is where the first writer’s guidelines came from: no advice, no “You,” just personal experience, just “I”.

After about a year of the blog’s existence, I began to realize something fascinating—it wasn’t just the readers who were benefiting from the stories. It was the writers as well.

I’ve watched people grow from sharing on this blog as much as I’ve watched myself grow by sharing my own experiences. I didn’t just sit down one day and write a book about all the lessons I learned on my journey of self-discovery. Writing the book—and all the blog posts and journal entries in-between—was how I learned those lessons. For me, to write is to digest. And I’ve realized I’m not the only one.

Writing and re-writing our experiences can be a profound healing experience. We can process our lives by reflecting on them. We can realize what we’ve learned by writing about it.

I believe every inspiring story deserves to be read, and I also believe that every inspiring story needs to be written. I believe that every person has an important voice in the symphony of life, and that learning to use that voice, learning to hear others’ voices, and learning to harmonize together—this is how each person can change the world.

Here, at The Real Us, you will find stories and poems. You will find acceptance and change. You will find life and death. Here are words that inspire and words that heal—the words of real people, the real us.

I hope you enjoy this space. If you have a thirst for words of human experience, please sign up for updates and if you have unspoken words within you, please contribute.

Your Friend,