“You either get bitter or you get better. It’s that simple. You either take what has been dealt to you and allow it to make you a better person, or you allow it to tear you down. The choice does not belong to fate, it belongs to you.” — Josh Shipp
Josh, it isn’t that simple. Nothing is truly black or white. The color gray exists for a reason.
Fix your face or I’ll fix it for you. Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about. Suck it up.
Phrases like those are what I heard consistently growing up any time I had an issue or showed emotion. I learned early on not to get upset, or I would end up more upset than whatever got me there to begin with.
Obviously, this is not a healthy way to process emotions, trauma, or life in general.
But we all do what we have to survive. When traumatic sexual experiences happened in my life, I processed them similarly. I learned that talking to someone changed nothing; in fact, it often made the situation a lot worse. So I sucked it up. I treated these situations as if they were nothing.
Because that’s exactly how I was treated.
I could give you countless other stories, stories that are mine, some that are not. I have a close friend who blogs on another site, who recently posted an entry telling some of her stories. She made a statement to the effect, “these are just minor things”…no, no they were not.
They were serious offenses.
It is a sad world we live in, when women have to make themselves smaller, justify their horrific experiences, because we know that someone will come along as say something negative about it. Whether it’s another woman or a man, it doesn’t matter. Someone will make the comment,
“Someone has been through worse, don’t complain.”
I’m here to tell you, that is a crock of bullshit.
Yes, there are degrees of assault and abuse. But if something you’ve been through, is the absolute worst thing that’s ever happened to you, until that point in your life, then it’s exactly that.
And no one, NO ONE, may take that away from you.
Once you’ve been through something horrific, I don’t believe you ever get to “better”. I believe you get to a “working normal”, for you. Sure, there will be days you’re bitter as hell. You will see someone that you know, either by instinct or by personal knowledge, who is still innocent and pure and you’re just going to be mad.
You will be angry, that isn’t you any longer.
But eventually, you’ll be okay about that. One day, you’ll realize that you can take that anger, that sheer terror, that hatred, and use it.
Use it to fight against all of those things that allowed what happened to you, to happen.
You can teach others how to fight. You can help change the system that failed you. You can help yourself grow.
But the absolute most important thing you can do is allow yourself to heal.