And one day I finally decided to stop screaming “Let me tell you what I’ve been through. You don’t know.” in favor of showing the world that I have hit the pavement so many times and have risen to somehow still smile. It used to feel like attack, as if my smile and joy were being shoved down my throat when the world would tell me I didn’t know pain. I may not know your pain, but I do know pain. I kept it with me. I drug it around in a huge shit bucket and kept it hidden and rose-scented so as not to attract attention, but became defensive that my smiles were mistaken for an ever-sheltered life
Then came: look how evolved I am, I’ve been through things and I’m still smiling.
I missed the point.
It should have been triumph that after the things I’ve been through no one saw me as a wounded bird, but I still saw myself like that so it didn’t matter. Sometimes I still do. Stories are transformative to both the teller and the listener. They are healing. Maybe, just maybe, the listener’s perception will shift ever so slightly or greatly and their rock bottom could look a hair less dire than the ones that came before them. Maybe the teller can witness their light being honored and shared.
I’m not here to lift up the martyrs or give vain sacrifice in the name of being needed any place or purpose. I’m simply saying that your pain and my pain, though perhaps not justifiable, need never be in vain if we use those experiences, if we tell those stories to inspire those around us. Shine, so that others may be inspired to shine. Rise up no matter how many times you get knocked down, so that others may be inspired to rise.