“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” – Says everyone without a clue.
Don’t get me wrong, I used to be one of the people who said this. I always viewed it as an inspirational quote that could help people who are going through a hard time. That was until I woke up one day and asked, “When am I going to become the strong person that everyone says I’ll be?”
What comes to my mind when I put that quote and my situations together is that I’ll move on and forget about it. For some of my situations, it’s been two years, four years, ten years plus since incidents happened. I still live my life in fear of them happening again and scared I’ll see certain people. Does that sound like moving on to you?
People are under this impression that you grieve, heal, move on, and it never affects you again. You forget about it and it’s like it never happened. That’s the idea of a “Strong” person. That isn’t real. If this is what defines a strong person then there’s no such thing.
The reason is that the world doesn’t stop for anything. Time continues to go by, babies are born, elderly dies and everyone’s’ lives continue. You still have to get up in the morning, go to work, pay bills, provide for your family, and do things that involve life. Just because you’re abused, assaulted, mistreated, let down, or stressed out, doesn’t mean anything. That sounds heartless, but it’s the truth. Life doesn’t care about what you look like, where you’re from, or what religion you are. It’s just hard.
I’m going to tell you something you may not like. Any situation that affects you in this way isn’t something you’ll move on from. Your life will always be affected. Your relationships with people, your workplace, your environment, family, and even yourself. In the Walking Dead Andrea tells a suicidal Beth, “The pain doesn’t go away, you just make room for it.”
If I use the word strong to describe someone that’s been through a traumatic experience, It’s going to be like this. A strong person is someone who made themselves wake up in the morning and go to work instead of calling out and laying in bed. The strong person immersed themselves in an activity to keep their mind busy while the other person dwelled on it constantly. A strong person realized the world is turning whether they want it to, so they continued to turn with it.
When you’re strong, you know that the pain will probably never go away. However, you make sure you do your best not to let it affect your life in a negative way. When it does, you catch it and change the circumstances immediately. You don’t play the “woe is me” card. You don’t use what happened as a crutch to say or o whatever you want.
I’ve been through a lot for someone my age and I’ve seen a lot from other people. Throughout my childhood and into my adult life I’ve had to deal with things I shouldn’t have. Some of my relationships weren’t very good. One, in particular, gave me a form of PTSD that still affects me now. I played the “Woe is me” card, I used it as a crutch to explain the way I am with the “Help isn’t possible” attitude.
When I asked myself why I wasn’t the strong person everyone said I’d be, I realized it’s because I’m still dwelling on it. So I stopped and chose to turn with it. Then I asked why the pain wouldn’t leave and found out that it never would. I’d just make room for it and live day-to-day trying my best to keep it together.
In this world, people go to war and kill women and children soldiers. People get raped and children get abducted. Women and men suffer from abuse, parents mistreat and neglect their kids, and there are more lies flying around than there are drops of water in an ocean. This world is a really crappy place.
I’ve found that when I came to accept this about the world and my life, I got peace. It’s ironic that accepting the idea of never going back to the way things used to be was mentally and emotionally freeing. So this week’s poem is about my realization of what a strong person really is versus what everyone else thinks it is. It’s a traumatic situation in my life that led me down a path that wasn’t pretty. I also threw in a poem by Emily Dickinson that helped me with this.
You say “What doesn’t kill you” like death is only physical
The stranger said, “You’re lucky he didn’t kill you”
Oh, but he did.
You see, I’m still here in front of you speaking.
But if you look at my chest, there’s still a hole
From where he reached in and tore my heart out.
If you look close enough, you’ll read his words
That he tattooed all over my body and
The bruises left from his hate.
To you, I look normal.
But to me, I’m changed forever.
You say I’m lucky he didn’t kill me,
But he did.
Just because I’m breathing,
Doesn’t mean I’m alive.
My life closed twice before its close
My life closed twice before its close—
It yet remains to see
If Immortality unveil
A third event to me
So huge, so hopeless to conceive
As these that twice befell.
Parting is all we know of heaven,
And all we need of hell.
Picture via www.blog.thisisbeast.com