“Why is it that the word ‘another’ is the crulest word in the language, Pop?”
“How d’ya mean?”
“Well, when he’s alone with himself a man may get real honest and acknowledge—and accept—that he is a fool. But nobody wants to be ‘just’ another fool. ‘Another couple of dumb Atlases,’ he called us, and of all the things he said that hurt the most.”
“Here now—easy! Here, use this here bar rag. Be right back.”
While Freddy wiped his eyes, the old man quickly filled a tray of orders for the waiter. By the time he returned Freddy was under control and had begun repairing his makeup with a hand mirror.
“See here,” Pop said, “if you’re hip deep in used food, well, maybe you could climb out. But if you see a whole other bunch of people hip deep too, then the chances of you becoming the rare one to climb out seem to go down drastic. But you see, that’s a kind of optical illusion. All those others don’t affect your odds atall. What matters is how bad you want to get up out of the shit, and what purchase you can find for your feet.”
— Spider Robinson
I can’t see to escape it. I enjoy talking and listening to people and the one thing that keeps coming up for me is that nobody gets through life unscathed. Some people had horrible traumatic childhoods with history of various kinds of abuses, physical, sexual or what not. If not in their childhoods then in their teenage years, if not then as they hit adulthood. I get it I do. However I see more and more evidence of a phenomenon that disturbs me. More and more people seem to fall into the role of victim, willingly imprisoning themselves in their past. We get a lot of validation for doing this. The media is filled with shows where people are encouraged to drag up every ounce of pain they ever felt and display it for others to see. Again, in no way do I belittle what anyone has gone through. However part of me wonders especially when I look at my own past. Do I let myself become disempowered by constantly displaying my wounds and using them as an excuse for abdicating responsibility or do I try to face them and move past it?
I do know people who have done it. Some people get crushed by the pain of their past and others integrate it and use it to become magnificent. I know a woman who was born with cerebral palsy who despite only having movement in one hand and her mouth has become an incredible artist who sets goals for herself and achieves them more often than anyone I know. I’ve seen people who hurt who use their pain to understand others, sometimes even the ones who caused the pain, faced it and have become, what one friend of mine would call Buddhas. I know victims of rape and incest who have become councillors teaching others how to empower themselves.
Looking at both sides and again not belittling anyone’s past, I wonder what can be achieved by not looking at my past as a curse or a blessing but seeing it as a challenge, something that I can move beyond if I but have the determination to do so. That way to me lies enlightenment. So I leave it to those of you who’s comments I treasure. What has helped you move beyond your past?
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