I am the sum of my experiences. They make me who I am. The tough times I’ve been through shape how I view the world. They shape how I react to what someone says or does. No one else has walked a mile in my shoes or survived what I have. That part of me, the part that changed me forever due to struggle or tragedy, is invisible.
There isn’t a physical scar acting as a symbol of what I’ve endured. Hell, looking at me you wouldn’t know that I’m a lefty…or Jewish-ish…or a Yankee. What’s more, looking at me you have no way to know that I’ve been through infertility treatments, been divorced after a 16+ year marriage, struggle all day every day with food and food-related issues, or am incredibly lonely. My damage is unseen.
It hides behind a smile. It takes no physical shape and does not leave a physical scar. The hurt is much deeper. It has dulled quite a bit over the years, but it’s still there. Certain things can trigger it and bring it to the surface. I’m learning to be kinder to myself and more forgiving towards others when their benign actions or words create a reaction in me that is due to years of hurt.
I’m trying to remember that if I am dealing with this kind of unease within me then so is everyone else. My battle may be very different from yours, but it’s still there, and I’m learning to remember that being kind is important, both to others and to myself. Uncloaking and revealing my wounds to someone can be very scary, but moving forward in the face of fear is what I intend to do.