I have been living in a topsy turvy world for a week. This election delivered so many enormous emotions, newly discovered truths, and paradigm shifts I have had a difficult time unravelling them all.
We all have certain truths we believe about ourselves, secretly. We might decide that we would have been an Olympic athlete, had we just applied ourselves more. We didn’t deserve to be fired…the boss was a jerk. We tell ourselves things to make ourselves feel better about our lives and our actions. We want to be the hero in our own story.
I have always secretly felt that my life had been harder than most people experience. That I had suffered more and had more bad things happen to me. After all, I was bullied as a child. I was a square peg. I was the tallest kid, boy or girl in the whole elementary school. I had to wear ugly shoes because my feet turned in. I was teased for my glasses.
I was born with a very rare birth defect that meant 10 years of tormenting surgery in my childhood until everything was put right. This is the first time I have written about it publicly. THAT was hard. THAT was suffering.
I was raped when I was a teenager. I lost two loved ones to horrific bicycle accidents. Not one, but two, 30 years apart. I was in an abusive marriage. I had a man tell me he would kill me if I left him. And he meant it. I have been in a damaging car accident. I have had a couple of serious illnesses. I have locked myself in a bathroom with a man walking through my house with a loaded gun. My parents went through a years-long damaging-to-all ugly divorce. I was told that I couldn’t do a job because I was a woman. I had four miscarriages and was told I couldn’t have children, and I wanted them. More than I can express. I have had friends betray me. I have been ghosted by a man. I have had my heart broken several times. I have been so poor I tried to sell my blood to get enough gas money for my car but they couldn’t get a good vein.
Through it all, as I got knocked down, I picked myself up every time. I got off the floor and kept going. I have always felt that hardship and suffering temper us and make us stronger and wiser. It’s made me the woman I am today and I like who I am. I am proud that I was able to get through everything that I have been challenged by. It’s been part of my personal life story to be able to feel that I have suffered more than most and yet be a strong happy person.
This week changed that for me. I no longer feel that I can say I have suffered more than most. It struck me like a hammer BOOM. I HAVEN’T SUFFERED MORE THAN MOST. There are millions of people on this planet who’s day to day lives are much more challenging than mine. I am a white woman who grew up in middle class suburbia with two loving parents and many privileges. I am not a person of color or gay or transgender or Muslim or a minority. The fear I face because of this farce of an election is NOTHING compared to the fears others face.
I have been incredibly humbled by this revelation, this paradigm shift. It’s not that I was oblivious to the troubles other people face. I have always genuinely cared. But it was always at a remove, as it didn’t affect me in my day to day life. I have never had to see it first hand. And now I do. I am a little late to the party but I am finally here.