It’s so odd how people will assume they know a person without ever getting to know them. They’ll see someone smile and interpret their easy-going demeanor to mean that their life has been just as easy. I’m not the one that loses when you make assumptions about my life or judge me. My yoga teacher told me that when they first tried to grow trees in the Biosphere, they all flopped over because there was no wind to blow them around and strengthen them. Strength doesn’t come from sitting on the sidelines.
The other thing about strength is that you have to work for it. I look back at how far I’ve come and I know how hard it was to get to a place where I woke up in the morning feeling gratitude instead of wishing I were dead. Sometimes I don’t know how I’ve come that far. Surely, someone must have carried me – but no. I carried myself. You have to carry yourself. No one else is going to do that for you. I wish I could tell you that my faith in God got me through it all, but it didn’t, though I hope that works for you. What did was the intervention of a few very special people and a realization that the sun and the birds keep rising every day no matter what has happened.
You find a way to move yourself through the pain of whatever situational horrors you’ve experienced. Feeling it makes you stronger. You learn something from being a victim. The pain hardens into scar tissue, and if you’re lucky, you can figure out a way to melt that back into a place of love and acceptance for others who struggle. Again, people see you smile and they have no idea what or who has hurt you. And they won’t know, because you just don’t. Want. To talk about it. Any more. Rehashing the past no longer serves you. You’ve walked away from whatever tore holes in your psyche. You’ve healed your own wounds and there’s nothing more to say.
Strong people still have dark days. This depression that lives inside me still fights like hell to win. Kill it one day with an ax and it comes back another day as a rock. It’s like the Hindu story of the Warrior Goddess Durga fighting the evil God Mahisa, who changed into many different forms throughout their battle in the hopes of confusing her and winning. Only time will tell if I will win like Durga, so I keep fighting. Most people will never understand. Most people don’t even notice. If by chance they do, they’re never satisfied with the answer to “What’s wrong?” when it’s “Nothing,” or “I don’t know,” or “I’m just having a hard day.” Or God forbid, “Mahisa came back as a rock today.”
Empathetic friends are nice. I don’t want or need your pity. I’m not a charity case. I’m not an invalid. I sure as hell am not fragile. I feel I have a debt to repay, to those who pulled me out of the water when I was drowning. It’s impossible to pay someone back for saving your life. The best thank you I can give is to have my friends’ backs, and I do. I won’t try to fix your problems. That wouldn’t help either of us. I will stand by you while you fight your battles.Still, I’ve stopped keeping it all inside. It’s exhausting to hide sadness and joy behind an empty expression, so I don’t do it anymore. Maybe it looks like I’m wearing my heart on my sleeve. I just think I’m being honest. True, some people aren’t ready to hear what I have to tell them. Maybe it’s scary to let someone care for you, especially when it’s offered without a request for anything in return. I’ve been told these people just have walls up. I understand - I have them too. I’m a warrior, remember? Belonging to no one, living in a marble fortress. I just put doors in mine to let you in. It’s up to you to walk through them. I’ll leave the light on.