Some days something will happen and you will see your whole history flash by you in an instant. You will see how much some things have changed, and how much some things haven’t.
Years ago, while growing up in a small town, I felt like every comment, every judgement and every action would leave marks like welts on my young and fragile skin. My emotional skin. I felt exposed. Like an open wound with tissue paper for skin.
It felt as though people were always judging what I did, how I looked, what I said… I tried to put up a strong face and not react while at the same time I hid my pain and bruises.
No matter what I did it would always provoke judgements, remarks, sarcasm, comments and sometimes, occasionally, it would illicit encouragement and support. It varied.
I tried pleasing everyone so that they would leave me in peace but that doesn’t work either. You can never please everyone and the more you try the deeper the scars.
As I grew older and faced more and more of these situations I learned to be a little more resilient and stronger. I learned to tell myself who and what should matter. Like a child learning to walk. Emotional steps. Small ones each time.
Falls left bruises but they also formed protective calluses.
Today I have seen a lot more falls, pains and loses and I am still surprised how they can echo through our lives and our emotional skin.
With each new chapter and challenge my emotional skin has changed. Some areas I have even shed some tender skin but because we are only human, each new skin always leaves imprints of the other.
When my life began its health changes and my former life was peeled away, my skin was extremely raw. Burned by the changes which were progressing through my body. My emotions were even more tender!
Peoples comments, judgements, actions seemed to hurt so much more. I felt far more exposed without the physical abilities I once had.
Then… Today something that would have once hurt me just made me just shake my head and I was instantly surprised and proud how resilient I was in that moment.
Some areas of my emotional skin has really strengthened and toughened. Some people who helped me get there range from close personal friends to complete strangers. They have all helped triage my pain and emotions. I have also done a great deal of my own self care.
Some of the events that have come along have also given me the chance to toughen some of that weaker skin.
However it also occurred to me that I don’t want to toughen all areas of my skin. I still need to feel the warmth of the those happy and wonderful moments too. Still feel.
So today I reflect on how far I have come and at the same time how tender some things still are. But it’s the only skin I have and it must protect me from all things in the future and yet still allow me to enjoy and to create some good things too.
I am learning to be grateful for those that helped me get here…Those that burnt me and those that soothed my burns.
Chronic lives are full of testing times and trying people, but we don’t always get to choose. We don’t get to choose what happens but we can choose how we care for our skin.
Over time we also learn some good first aid techniques and tools.