Everything is relative…
I’m at a loss as to why all these prompts bring up such heavy subjects for me. I try to keep things light, in some ways, here on the blog, but I know that doesn’t always happen. It probably has a lot to do with my own personality and how I’ve come to realize that talking about hard things isn’t a bad thing; in fact, it’s a good thing. It’s hard to do and it’s hard to read and to listen to sometimes, but I think mistakes were made in the past by shrouding things in secrecy. It set us so apart from each other when we could have been helping and holding each other; we could have realized that everyone has something, whether they admit it or not, and we can find comfort in each other and knowing we aren’t a sole wanderer in pain.
When I was a child, I didn’t understand this. Sitting in a group therapy session and listening to others tell their stories of abuse, I somehow came away feeling guilty. My story isn’t that bad. Was I really abused? I felt like I didn’t belong in that group and somehow turned inward rather than opening up more.
I’ve come to realize that someone else’s pain isn’t your pain and we all deal with our own in ways that others can’t or aren’t able to yet. It’s all relative.
It took me a long time to finally open up, but when I did, I found that there were so many children who were abused, sometimes in small ways; sometimes in horrific ways that I can’t even imagine surviving. I also found that the more I spoke, the more I had others thank me for opening up; that somehow my story helped them with something they were dealing with.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, just because someone has been through something different than what you experienced, it doesn’t make what you went through somehow less; it doesn’t mean anything at all really except that we can help each other and hold each other and open up, if we can, in order to perhaps find comfort… that sounds rather trite, finding comfort in pain, but I can tell you that the worst times in my life were times where I felt alone. I felt like I was the only one who was going through a dark, cold forest filled with cobwebs and ice and there was no one there to help me or to understand.
It brings to mind one of my favorite movies – What Dreams May Come. I don’t mean to give away the ending for those of you who haven’t seen it, but it ties in so perfectly to what I’m trying to say here. So, if you haven’t seen it and want to, which I highly recommend, then don’t read the next paragraph.
What I loved most about the movie was that after doing everything he could to help his wife, Chris decided the only place he wanted to be was with her, by her side, so he decided to join her in hell. Once that decision was made, it somehow woke Annie up, because no one who is living in hell or has experienced hell wants their loved ones there, in fact, we do everything in our power to shield them from it while somehow wishing someone would sit by our side and just be with us for a time. She finally came out of it and realized that she loved him enough to break free.
It takes severe empathy; that willingness to drop all pretense and really sit with someone else in extreme pain. And there are those of us out there who are willing to do that and I can tell you, those are the people I love most. The ones who don’t try to fix it; the ones who just sit with me for a time and hold my hand and tell me they love me. It’s usually the only thing that can bring me out of the darkness.
I think I went way off into left field with this one, but I hope I was able to tie it back to relative with just a touch of empathy and love.