It is sad that fear of authenticity and the need for acceptance causes many to drown in their situations, ruining lives and breaking families apart. It would be amazing if more people would use the wisdom gained from life’s obstacles to mentor one another on the journey of life. It would be amazing to share our struggles and hear someone respond, “Hey sister, fear not, for I’ve been in your shoes and look at where I am now! Let’s sit and talk about relying on the power of prayer to deal with this situation.”
The world tries to mold us.
From a young age, we are taught having a voice might be perceived as weakness. We don’t need to discuss or dissect every experience. Everyone has scars, traumas, and problems, why dwell on them? From a young age, I learned one should just carry on in order to heal. Pretend the pain isn’t there; there is no need to discuss “the obvious,” just deal with it. I stored the pain away because I felt it was wrong to have a voice. Speaking up may have resulted in being accused of playing the victim or being dramatic, but I look back and see that my pain was real. It deserved a voice and an opportunity to cry out for help. Those around me may have carried the weight of their own pain, and in their eyes, their pain may have been greater because they dealt with adult responsibilities, but voiding my pain because in comparison it wasn’t a big deal was unkind.
When I finally set my voice free it was out of frustration, for the wrong reasons, or in the wrong manner. It hurt more because my voice became insignificant, something not to be taken seriously, or worse used against me as it shed an unfavorable light on me. I was confused and thought something was wrong with me because emotionally I was unable to cope with the situations. I was taught that trust was not something you earned, no one deserved trust, and you were guilty even when proven innocent. If I was told that what I wanted or felt was wrong, it was wrong, no question about it. Who would listen anyway? I learned an awful truth one day, I am not valuable enough to speak my truth. In speaking my truth I learned that love for me was conditional. The message was loud and clear, they would survive and carry on without me.
I grew up fast. I had to deal with adult things and act like an adult to be seen. I had to act like an adult because everyone in the room forgot I was a child. Of course, physically they knew I was a child, but emotionally they forgot I had my own needs and confusion. The world is hard, more so when we carry the burden of adult pain at a young age. The pain is deepened if what we bear isn’t seen or acknowledged. It is what it is. Hugging is not what we do. You keep walking and face your pain in silence
It hardened me. It took a piece of my innocence.
My fiancé’s love and support are helping me walk towards healing. My younger self-spent a lifetime thinking “I don’t get it or I’m not strong enough.” I felt my desires were unrealistic , fairy tales setting me up for the trap of unmet expectations. Power, liberation, a voice, or a life free from suffering was only feasible in my dreams. I accepted pain and emotional disconnecting as a way of life. I learned to use my voice to fight, debate, and demand things. Words were not meant to be tender, uplifting, or loving. Kindness and compassion were for the weak. What tears? Those were always crocodile tears, remember, and what would they solve anyway?
Starting this blog has brought a part of me back to life. It’s my safe place. I can embrace the truth of all that I am, free myself from the grip silence placed over my pain which prevented me from healing. I almost lost myself in the game of trying to heal others before healing myself. Trying to make others give me love so that I could love myself.
Writing is liberating. Speaking my truth is slowly setting me free, and it’s making me proud of the things I’ve overcome. It’s freeing me from shame, it’s helping me embrace my humanness, and it’s allowing me to ask and accept help to better myself.
I survived despite my silence because God was my companion from a young age. As a child I cried myself to sleep speaking to Him, giving Him my tears and pain. He saved me. He’s all that I had for my aching heart and thankfully His ear is all I needed. I needed to heal and I needed help, but I was afraid of what saying the truth would cause; further disapproval or lack of understanding from those I loved and admired, or burdening them further. However, pretending is exhausting and we lose ourselves in the process. We lose our individuality, and worse if we don’t address the issue we may pass the vicious cycle on to our children. Hurting them the same way we were scarred.
I hope to be a role model for my daughter and show her the importance of speaking up. I want my daughter to speak up and say when something is not OK. I want my daughter to be strong enough to admit when she’s weak and ask for help. I must learn to embrace my weakness, learn to speak the truth, to start a new path for our future where honesty is embraced. I want my daughter to speak her truth even if she stands alone. Sometimes it’s hard to grab on to God because we can’t see Him with our eyes. When we are surrounded by people throwing hurtful words at us, it’s hard to block those voices out and allow His voice to speak louder. The words tear us down. We may label ourselves with the lies. Name calling and emotional pain is not acceptable no matter the source, but the victim usually feels deserving of that harsh love. The victim may feel at fault, and at times might even try to soothe the attacker, forgetting about self-healing; trying to heal the attacker to make the pain stop. If the attacks continue it’s because the victim wasn’t strong enough, or worthy enough, to bring healing. My younger self-didn’t understand healing is God’s job, not mine. I was entitled to say “it’s not OK,” but the lines get blurry because the person who rips our heart tends to follow the episode by being extremely kind, temporarily of course, or provides things (gifts, trips, etc) to distract us and “make up” for our pain. Never owning up to the damage caused, pretending it isn’t there.
Around 2nd grade, I learned that writing was how I would be heard. My grandmother, who was my rock and raised me as my mother juggled several jobs, had surgery on the left side of her head to remove a tumor. She was the only one whose arms were tender enough to give me the love and affection I needed. Yet there was a chance I could lose her. My 8-year-old self-didn’t see the light, the hospital became my home. I thought I would lose my grandmother, the light of my life. I was sent to school the day of her surgery and all day I was consumed with thoughts about the surgery’s outcome. I wrote a prayer to God in class that day. During those times prayer and God were not taboo, and my writing, my honest account of my pain, was published in my school’s collection of writings for the year. I didn’t discuss with anyone the weight of the pain I carried with me, but from that moment death haunted me, and I had to carry it alone. It haunted me so much that at times I felt the only way to overcome it was to allow it have me. But my yearning for God was stronger. Loving Him, believing in Him, pulled me back to life.
Pouring myself out on this blog has shown me how the things that seem insignificant can impact us for a lifetime. It’s opening my eyes to the difference I can make in my daughter’s life. It’s giving me a chance to not repeat past mistakes, to become new. The more I write the more I discover what’s hidden within my heart, the scars I forgot that were there. The more I discover the more I can heal. The pain I felt, the tears I shed, were real even if unseen. Acceptance and acknowledgment are leading me towards healing.