Everyone has pain, and most of us will have some life-changing horror in our past — sometimes more than a single event — that changes everything.
It has been observed by a number of friends and acquaintances that I’m more outspoken in recent days, years. Instead of tears and rolling onto my belly the way a submissive animal does, the way I always used to do, I show teeth. I turn my back on someone used to commanding attention. I shut doors quietly but solidly. I’m less patient, more likely to speak out when something pings my “this is wrong” radar. I’m more likely to engage, to show people who I am, to call people out on things that cross a line.
I often do not recognize it while it’s happening. It just feels necessary. I’m more tuned into my inner voice, even if it’s argumentative.
Things that endure frequently require tempering, time, heat and/or pressure, and thought. Tempering involves work, or discomfort, or even pain (putting me in mind of pearls, where something has to die in order for you to find the treasure inside). You need experience. You need trial and error. Mostly trial. That’s because taking the measure of something often means discarding more than you need, or dipping deeper to get the full scoop.
If I had a nickel for every time someone’s told me, “You’ve changed,” I’d have enough to buy a venti Starbucks white mocha (they aren’t cheap, and nickels don’t go as far as they once did). I have changed. I’m harder, and also softer. I’m fresh pink skin where a wound was made and left to heal slowly, exposed and breathing. And it’s not going to be okay with everyone, but it’s where I’m at, and I’m okay with it.
“I don’t like this you.”
“You aren’t the sweet Kimmy I used to know.”
“You’re a lot more outspoken.”
“You’re a different person and I don’t know how to relate to you anymore.”
Yes, I am. And I’m not overly bothered about it. I earned it. I earned the scars, and their lessons.
We don’t ask for pain, and we don’t always deserve the gut punches. They will happen to most of us at some point. What we do with it is entirely up to us.