I spent my life creating myself to be exactly what I needed to be.
So I wouldn’t be hurt, left out, rejected, alone, different, broken. If I hid my cracks, they didn’t exist. If I built a suit of amour, nothing could penetrate. If I ignored, became pleasing, laughed at the stupid jokes and pranks, went home with the guy, put out, loaned money, didn’t say anything, let them treat how they wanted… then it wasn’t real.
For a blissful time everything was suspended. Filtered through who I became instead of who I was. The tough exterior. The masks. The roles I took on. I used to care, so much, so deeply. I was hurt by everything. I didn’t understand how people could be just cruel to each other.
Why would you intentionally set up, prank, exclude, exile, make fun of, push away people? I couldn’t understand it. Naivitie is not rewarded in this society. So I became tough. I became strong. I became a shell of a person.
I stopped feeling so I wouldn’t be hurt. I stopped expressing my emotions so I wouldn’t be made fun of. I stopped caring because it was easier to turn off than to feel. I can feel what people feel, I can feel people’s pain, anger, rage, hurt and it was too much. To sit in my own pain, and feel others and let them continue to treat me poorly because I had empathy.
I wouldn’t speak up or say anything because I didn’t want to the hurt them, didn’t want to be disrespectful as I was taught. But that favour was rarely returned to me. I spoke a lot about issues that weren’t about me. I gave voice to a lot of things, fought for a lot of causes, but never my own.
I was afraid to fight for myself. Afraid no one would stay or care if I did. I was afraid to speak up on issues that needed my voice because I didn’t want the cracks appearing. I had worked so hard at stuffing myself away, shoving my emotions back, changing myself that I didn’t want to risk any cracks in the armour.
But they came anyway. The cracks. There is only so much stuff you can avoid and deny and hide from until the armour can’t hold it back anymore. The cracks form. It’s how the light gets in. And once the light is in, it’s harder and harder to keep the broken pieces in the dark.
They seep out. And as the light hits them, they hurt, they bleed but then they heal. And life takes on a new feel, a living that wasn’t possible before the crack and the light. But there are more. Deeper and deeper layers.
It took me a long time to realize that we have to do this work in levels. We can’t do it all at once, it’s too much, too deep, too painful. But do it we must. And each level will bring the resistance, the fight, the surrender, the crack, the light, the healing.
But each layer gets deeper, into uglier stuff, deeper stuff, painful stuff. Stuff we couldn’t deal with 1, 2, 3, 4, however many years ago. It doesn’t matter how many. What matters is what you’re able to handle now.
3 years ago I couldn’t imagine being here, not ever. Last year I couldn’t imagine being here. And once upon a time I promised myself I’d never ever let myself come here – I’d never let myself come to the edge, to look at my scars, to open the cracks, to see the wounds, to them bleed.
I decided a long time ago that it was best to just push it all way and live a normal life. The problem is when you push it all down you can’t live a “normal” life. What is normal? How can you live fully when you aren’t yourself, when you’ve turned off, numbed yourself?
I never wanted to be broken. I never wanted to be seen that way. I wanted to be normal, like everyone else. Lucky for me, as it turns out, half living and not living at all are very normal. I thought my cracks and my scars, my experiences would make me broken. I’m realizing my cracks are the very things that will help me find that I am in fact, whole.
My cracks are my fault lines, my scars tell a story of surviving, overcoming and thriving against the odds. My scars are the point of this story I am living. Everytime I try to cover them up, I half live, shrinking into myself, hiding, coping.
When I look at those scars and let them remind me of what I’ve lived through, what I’ve survived, coped, kicked, clawed and screamed my way through are the very things that make me, me. They are the reasons I am motivated, inspired. They are the things that give me my drive, my passion, my purpose.
People often say “who would you be before all that stuff happened? Find her… be her”. You know what? Who you were, who I was, doesn’t fucking matter. I’m not that person. I didn’t get to live that life. That’s not my story and finding who I was before that happened is stupid.
Because it all did happen.
And who I am is because of that, inspite of that. I don’t want to go back in time and find some fairy tale version of who I might have been before trauma struck. Trauma struck. It changed me. It broke me. It nearly killed me.
But it didn’t. And who I am in spite of it is more important than who I would have been if it never happened. Real fairy tales are covered in blood, guts, glory, dark night of the soul, evil and good mixing, light and dark.
I am both light and dark. I am constantly reminded that we need to be in our darkness, our pain, our brokenness so we can find, see and appreciate the light in spite of what we’ve been through, because of what we’ve been through.
I never wanted to be broken. Surrendering was failure. It was weak. Now I realize my cracks are what make me, me. I was broken. But I found a way to glue my bits back together. They don’t look like the original. And they’re not supposed to.