Worthy of my scar

by Carolyn on June 25, 2009

feeling worthy

feeling worthy

I’m fine, thanks. Don’t worry about me. I’m good… really.

We’ve all said them. Those words that tell others that we are fine and thereby don’t need their sympathy, support, care or concern. Even when sometimes we do. Why is that? A fear of vulnerability? A need to always appear strong? Or maybe a sense that our pain is not justified; not deep enough to warrant the compassion of others. It’s for all of these reasons that I have never acknowledged the pain I suffered from my parent’s divorce. And the reason I think many children of divorce don’t.

Perfectionists by nature and related to the feeling that you’d better be perfect of things just might fall apart, children of divorce typically never want to appear weak or damaged. That kind of vulnerability is unacceptable and we will use whatever pretense is needed to hide it. And in our minds, really what did we suffer? For the most part we weren’t abused, we weren’t starving, not neglected nor abandoned. It’s not like we had a parent die or go to jail. What do we have to cry about anyway? A child of divorce who feels hurt simply by their family circumstance is a whiner. Someone just looking for attention. Because there are so many out there who have it much worse than us.

But you could understand the child’s pain. For having their family torn in two. Feeling the ground beneath their feet turn to quicksand, with no sign of rescue on the horizon. Suddenly having to shift all their paradigms about relationships, love, their parents, family and home; yet still being expected to go through life normally. Still go to school. Still play with friends. Still be human. That must be hard. That pain is defensible. But not to a child of divorce.

And then for an adult! For either the grown up child of divorce or true adult child of divorce, our internal voice growls ‘Grow up already! Don’t you have bigger things to worry about? Bigger concerns in your life? Can’t you just be happy with all of your fortunes instead of merely focusing on this one trivial detail?’ That is the internal script. The rhetoric that leads to us denying our own feelings, even to ourselves. And it’s not just children of divorce who do this. We all take our turns. Telling ourselves and others how much worse something could have been. Saying we should focus on the positives and not the negatives.

Not that there’s anything wrong with optimism. We should all try to focus on the positive aspects of our lives. But we should allow ourselves to acknowledge the negative ones too. Not to wallow in them, but also not to pretend they don’t exist. Because pretending doesn’t make them go away. In fact, I think that the harder we try to push something down into the deep dark hole of ourselves, the stronger it becomes. As if it converts all of that energy we expend trying to smother it into it’s own undeniable strength.

It’s okay to say things have hurt me. It feels awkward and strange but it’s okay. I don’t need to be ashamed or feel inadequate for feeling my hurt. It may not measure up to everyone’s yardstick of pain but hey, you don’t need to be mauled by a bear to get scars. We all have them. And today I’m feeling worthy of mine.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Urchin June 25, 2009 at 9:27 pm

oi that was rambly. Sorry.

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2 Carolyn June 25, 2009 at 11:17 pm

lol! When I first read this on my dashboard I thought you were referring to my post. :) I thought to myself ‘boy the whole website crash thing must have really interfered with my writing groove!’. I reread my post and then I saw your *first* comment. Made my night. I needed a good laugh.

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3 Urchin June 25, 2009 at 11:47 pm

I don’t think anything could mess with your writing groove. Seriously, you rock!

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4 Urchin June 25, 2009 at 9:27 pm

Ooh. Good point! I get told often enough to treat myself the way I treat others. And once the question was posed to me “if you treated your friends the way you treat yourself… would you have any (friends)?” Of course my immediate answer was a very adamant and resounding, “Yes!” But I answered too quickly, and too enthusiastically.

The real answer, of course, is, “No.”

I know why I feel the way I do. Or parts of it anyway. I refuse to appear weak. Or broken. I am a girl, not glass.

Someone (a completely different someone from the other two someones) told me once that self-worth was a learning experience just like any other. It rises, and falls, you have tests that you’ve prepared for and pop quizes that freak you out because you forgot to read the homework chapter the night before. Not being a child of divorce (but wanting it! Still wanting it…) but knowing those who are and reading your own thoughts on the subject have brought me to realize that pain is pain. It affects everyone differently. We all show it (or not) in our own ways. And we have earned our scars.

You.
Me.
The cat… who if it doesn’t stop attacking my foot as though it’s some creature from the twenty-seventh and a half dimension…

We are who we are. Depending on what you believe we are either the objects we were made to be, or we are what circumstances have made us. I like the idea that we are who WE make us. Every choice changes us a little bit. Every year we change just slightly. And hopefully, we learn that we are worthy of our emotions, all of them. Including the hurt.

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5 Carolyn June 25, 2009 at 11:14 pm

*Every choice changes us a little bit. Every year we change just slightly.*
I couldn’t agree more. Isn’t it funny to think about yourself 5 years ago? Or 10? Sometimes it’s like recalling a stranger. I love your insights.

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6 Urchin June 25, 2009 at 11:48 pm

Wow.. thanks! The other compliment was deleted by the evil glitch zombies, but I’m going to get a huge boost to my self worth with the way you and Frank treat me :D

Thank you.

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7 Frank June 30, 2009 at 3:46 pm

Neither one of us throws anything your way that you don’t have coming. You’re an amazing person, Urchin. I’m so glad you’re finding a home here. :)

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8 Urchin June 30, 2009 at 7:58 pm

I’m going to emote:

-baffled Urchin with a fluttery feeling and a blush to the cheeks-

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