Thursday, November 23, 2017

Exposing Our Scars

"This too shall pass." It sounds cliché, but the truth is, it's gotten me through a gambit of hard times. An abusive relationship with my biological father, childhood bullying by peers, the near-fatal car crash of my spouse, and the death of my adopted father and infant son only one year apart. In my life, I have suffered countless losses and tragedies, but through them all, I try to focus on the positive, knowing traumas are what stick with us the most.
But our misfortunes don't have to define us. We can push through the hurt, and remember, nothing in this life is permanent. Everything is temporary, which means, the pain you are feeling right now, it won't feel this bad forever. Pain does lessen over time and you can find a way to not only survive, but thrive. Your future will still bring moments of joy: the exhilarating feeling of a first kiss, making the winning goal for your team, getting the promotion you earned, or watching your baby come into the world. Each of those life-changing moments can help you see past the pain of your difficult days. If you remember all the good times, and hope for all the ones to come, you can withstand anything.
I remember when I published my first book and I received my initial negative review. I'm not going to lie; it hurt. I cried myself silly over that first one and I had to accept it wouldn't be my last. But I had to make a decision. Was I going to let the negative people out there define me? Was I going to let them keep me from writing the truth my characters and their stories deserved? I could have stopped writing. I could have changed my name and hidden in anonymity. I could have let their brokenness break me—after all, hurt people, hurt people—but I chose to keep telling my truth. To keep telling the stories I knew needed to be told. I chose to ignore the nay-sayers and the self-appointed "critiques" who hide behind computer screens, or tvs, or other people. The ones who are too afraid to try to make anything of themselves, so out of bitterness, beat other people down who are creating. That first negative review changed me, but not in the way the person who wrote it hoped. I learned a valuable lesson. Nothing is more important than believing in what I do.
So, even though our misfortunes don't have to define us, I do think we should allow them to change us. Not into bitter people, but better people, willing to share our experiences to help others. I write what I feel. Out of my deepest pain, comes the deepest truth I can share with others. We are not alone in this world and our greatest purpose is to help others by exposing our scars.

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