Today I told someone I am about as transparent as I can be. I thought I was!
I tell people about my life-my circumstances-my choices all the time. What was pointed out to me, was that it seemed, “unbelievable.” The person to whom I was vocalizing my past in an almost chronological newsworthy kind of way, revealed that to them my words seemed shallow. As I listened further, I learned that she felt I was lying due to the limited emotional attachment to some pretty heavy circumstances. I thought, You know what? She may be right?
I am a survivor. That is undeniable. I lived through a ton of crap, all to become this tough passionatly tenacious cookie everyone sees. Whatever happened to the girl inside? What happened the young woman that actually felt all that pain? Had I learned so well to forgive, that I no longer have emotional attachment to the pain? Or have I just entered a PTSD scenario, where I push all my feeling inward? That’s my modus operandi, so when she informed me of her perceptions I had to pause. I asked myself one seriously mind-boggling question. Am I still able to feel after all this time? After all that’s happened? Can I allow myself to let the pain in?
My internal dialog seemed to continue without my permission in an almost audacious fashion. I wondered, Do I allow others to see me feel pain? When was the last time I could remember feeling emotions of empathy or sorrow? The outer shell that I strategically placed around my feelings all those years ago cracked, and for one moment insecurity swept through me, just as if I had full-body entered a cool-pool of water. My brain betrayed me.
I spent the afternoon postulating that I had opened some form of flood gate. My emotions all over the place reeked havoc. I decided the only place I was safe from altering my perspective was solitude. I went home. Retreated. Left in a massive hurry to collect my thoughts. To do something to get my rejection compartmentalized, and then it hit me. I am doing exactly what I feared. I suppressed the pain of rejection so that I can move forward. She was right. I had no feeling in my story when I spoke to her. It was if it happened to someone else the way I told it. Who wouldn’t feel like I was lying?
Survivors deal with things in a whole different way than people who have never had darkness in their life. People who have life challenges like separating parents, or divorce, or financial difficulties, have tough circumstances they have to go through. I don’t want to make light of that pain. What I have learned is it’s a whole different thing to be a victim of something you didn’t do, and couldn’t control. It changes everything. It’s altering, to some life shattering, and at best burdensome to endure. Add several life circumstances back to back and you should have one blazing nut job! (I may seem a little nutty but I assure you I am sane.)
If I am as transparent as I tout, shouldn’t I be willing to put some humanness in my story? Shouldn’t that include a touch of sentiment? Inflection in my voice? Some sense of burden I carry? So that maybe when anyone should hear of my successes, they will comprehend the great courage that it took to get there? If you were listening would it matter to you?
I sit here this evening compartmentalizing all that I have felt today so that I can make sense of the things that I recall. I have to go through forgiveness drills so that I can wake in the morning with a new perspective to touch another with hope. I really pray that my message is heard. That message being that there is someone who was strong enough to overcome much of the same circumstances causing them pain. There is someone who believes that if you want to change who you are, to become who you think you should be, you can. Life can be filled with joy!
If I can share this with you, I hope that when you see someone who seemingly has no emotion, who is just as rigid in stance or maybe composed as I was earlier, you will know that there is a flood of something going on down deep. There is a story there. Everyone has an untold story. Everyone is a real person with real feelings, who has triggers that will set them off. Everyone has a sense of being uncomfortable in a very unforgiving world. Show love. Show compassion.
I put my ego back in check. I chalked the experience up to a lesson learned. Each one of us is different in how we process our pain. I will inject some kind of personal emotion when I tell my stories now. I have to. I want to include others when I engage in conversation. I want people to know I am sincere when I type what has happened. I want to connect on a personal level.
The last thing I want someone to feel about me is that I am attempting to remain shallow. So while her rejection prompted a childlike reflex, and subsequent retraction from people, I am glad that she spoke to me with truth. I am not afraid of introspection. It’s part of my growth process, and I hope and pray that you too find it part of your growth too. We cannot change what we need to without knowing what it is that we need to change.