I saw this meme that said,
'Consider for a moment that what you call your “personality” is actually just a composite of habits and behavioral patterns you developed to cope with trauma. Now ask yourself, who am I outside of my pain? Who would I be if I stopped living life as a product of my story?'
Now I’m a Facebook/IG/Twitter meme snatcher and reposter if it is funny or resonates with me in some form. This particular one I didn’t repost, I held it close for weeks just asking myself these very questions.
I’ve written many poems addressing my lack of knowing who the “real” me is, since I was not afforded the opportunity to grow and blossom as a child. Everything I did was calculated. I didn’t make a move without deep thought and a list of possible outcomes. In recent years, I’m not as calculated as I was as a child. I stay in my head trying to flip scenarios of situations that had arose, is arising, or may arise in the future; which makes these some very poignant questions.
Who am I outside of my pain? I’ve always internalized any and all pain. It was to the point where, no matter what I did, there was some previous trauma associated. This can’t be life, I would think. I got and get enough flash backs that I didn’t and don’t need reminders of what I’ve been through. There are days I wish I never opened Pandora’s Box and would have left everything stuffed nicely hidden in my mental closet. Then, there are days I’m happy that I did open the box and let all that trauma and internal strife I was experiencing out.
Inside my pain, I’m a scared child begging for someone, anyone, to see her. To not be invisible to everyone or so it seemed. Inside my pain, I was the one that always got hurt because of someone else’s bullshit, ideas, and ideals that had nothing to do with me. Inside my pain, I was a big ball of overthinking anxiety. Inside my pain, I allowed someone else to tear away my soul, feast on intuition, and castaway my self esteem concerning me loving me. How could I leave this abyss of unpleasantness that I had grown accustomed to? This can’t be life, I would think.
I had to do something I never thought about doing before; Analyze myself living outside my pain while acknowledging it being there and being okay with it. So hard to do for someone like me, that stays in their head. Outside my pain I was a huge imaginationist. I pretended everything was copasetic. I pretended nothing shook me. I pretended my life was grand. Hell, I pretended for so long I started to believe it all. I was in awe of everything my imagination visualized. The mask I wore on a daily was flawless, no one could tell or even notice the millions of cracks that were below the mask.
Outside of my pain I discovered I was an empath. I could take everyone else’s emotionally draining baggage and help them make sense of everything that was coming their way. Without missing a beat a smile stayed on my face as I talked them through their daily life while my daily life was crumbling. Outside of my pain, I became a huge nerd. I mean, I threw myself into school, eventually earning a college scholarship when I was a sophomore in high school. While doing all that, my emotional and mental pain sealed itself up and hid away in my mental attic. While I was experiencing all of that, I was not sure if that’s who I was supposed to be. I battled not knowing the real me. But when I boil right down to it, this is the real me. I’m a flawed person, yet I’m flawsomely (flawless and awesome) and unapologetically me.
Now, for the second question. Who would I be if I stopped living as a product of my story? I would still be flawsome and unapologetic (more so now than when I was younger). In recent years, my mental attic was cleared to make room for the amazing happenings I had coming my way after I shed what seemed like oceans of tears concerning my painful and over analyzed divorce. I was tired of just existing and not enjoying my life to its fullest. I felt inadequate for a few years after my divorce. I never wanted to love, or be loved again. That shit was just too hard. I wasn’t use to that level of emotional and internal battles. Apparently, when all my emotional and mental pain was gathered up and locked away like a murderer, my ability to feel emotion was locked away also. Who knew it would take me getting my heart trampled on for me to really feel emotion. I mean, could I not have felt it another way? It was then I made a conscious decision to go to therapy. I didn’t seek therapy to feel better about the situation, but to understand why I was just feeling that level of emotion. I’ve been learning to live as me and not the product of my story. My therapist gave me tools to use and ways to cope even though I figured out how to cope with my trauma as a child all by myself. I learned a lot about myself. While I am unapologetically me, I was also a people pleaser, I always put others ahead of myself and my happiness. I learned I could have fought harder for my marriage prior to its dissolution. I didn’t because he didn’t want to be there and his happiness outweighed my own.
I had to learn the people pleasing and pacification of others had to stop because that was the plot of my childhood. Pleasing and pacifying everyone around me, even if it lead to my own peril. Situations arose and I just let the other person have it without ever questioning anything. In the last year, I learned doing such things was a sure fire way to quell any peace I had. It wasn’t until recently, when I met a wonderful person that has me feeling loved beyond compare; Feeling as if I can conquer anything. Nothing in return for the love and encouragement I received was or is ever expected. All they are looking for in return is to be loved, genuinely loved, not that I’m all about you until we fuck love.
So, who would I be if I stopped living as a product of my story? I’d be a perfectly flawsome, authentic woman that has been hurt, but is rising like the mythical phoenix from the ashes of my past. This can’t be life, as my story is just beginning.