I don’t quite know how to start this. As I didn’t post on Wednesday – I had too much homework – and then on Thursday I just plain forgot to do anything about a cartoon, there are still a few things I need to say.
I’d planned to tell you the last installment of my tale. You’ve heard the beginning part far too many times around here, but you haven’t yet heard the most recent development. When we last touched on this tale, I wrote the “Fifteen years later” letter. This letter led to a very unexpected development. I did not expect any further developments. However, after I published that letter, I felt that something was different. It took me a few weeks to figure out exactly what this was, but eventually I realized why I felt so different inside. The pain of my past is gone. I never expected this to happen. You do get used to your own pain that you carry about with you inside, you know. Most of the time, I did not notice it, but it would always still be there, ready to start smarting again at a moment’s notice. Maybe I would see a little girl in the street, being bullied. I would see a lot of bigger boys run up and start pulling her hair and pushing her around and the monster of my past would wake right up again and go on a rampage. I would see myself again, 10 years old and feeling that my life had broken into pieces. Then I would get emotional again.
I used to not be able to talk about my past without getting emotional. I’d read that this was an indication that the trauma had not healed yet. Only when you can look back on your past without feeling the old emotions again will you know that you have processed and overcome it. I could never do this and I did not expect to ever be able to do it.
Far too many people told me that psychological pain never really heals and that the old proverb “Time heals all wounds” is untrue. People told me that time does not heal wounds, that you never get over someone close to you dying, or some other trauma from your childhood. I believed that. I did not want to, but I could see no other choice but believing it.
I got so used to the feeling that if I were to start crying right now, it would be tears of blood, because I was bleeding inside from so many wounds. As I did not think that Time could heal these wounds, I did not expect the pain to go away. But it did happen. The blood has stopped. The pain has gone away.
I know now that writing that letter did it. Probably that was not the only step in the healing process, or it would have happened before now, but I do believe that it was the final step to finding peace. I’d forgiven the kids who did all those things to me long ago and it did help, but it did not take the pain away completely. I believe that in making the conscious choice to focus on the positive things when writing that letter, I’d subconsciously taken the final step to heal my wounds.
Wounds do heal with time. People tell you that there are some things that you never get over, but I do not think that this attitude is completely accurate. No, I cannot erase what happened to me. It will forever be a part of me. But I will not cry over it forever. Just like with a physical wound, the bleeding stops eventually and a scab forms. However, while it still has a scab, the wound is not fully healed and if it becomes agitated, it will likely bleed again. The wound is only fully healed when scar tissue forms.
No, I will never be rid of the evidence of my old wounds. But they are healed. Where I used to be bleeding in my soul, scar tissue has now formed. And I would far rather have psychological scar tissue than psychological wounds. There is nothing wrong with carrying scars on your body. A scar is not an ugly thing. A scar speaks of experience and challenges overcome. It speaks of healed wounds and the strength to overcome the injury in the first place.
Therefore, I would like to change the old saying “Time heals all wounds” to “Time does not make the evidence of wounds disappear, but it does heal them so that scars may form”.
This realization gives me infinite hope. Hope has for years been one of the most important things in my life, because it gave me reason to hold on and go on. I used to be afraid that hope was finite and that I would run out. Now, however, I feel that hope is infinite, as I generate it myself. Now I have hope that other things may also yet be healed. If this greatest wound of all those that I carried could heal, why not all of the others?
I have so much to be grateful for. This blog is certainly not the least of those things. If not for this blog, I would never have written that letter. If not for this blog, I would not have adopted a manifesto to go through my life making others laugh. I set out to make others laugh with this blog, but I did not realize that in this process I would make myself laugh and this in this laughter I would find healing. I am very grateful to have this blog, readers and commenters. Thank you.
I am not ashamed of my scar tissue, just as I am no longer ashamed of the scars on my arms and hands and face. I am also grateful that healing my pain has not lessened my drive to help others who are now in the position where I found myself ten years ago. I want to make people smile and give them hope, because I had none, but now I have plenty.
I had ten years of pain. It took five more to heal. If smiling could do this, whatever else can it accomplish next?
You may wonder why I am telling you all of this. Because of the Breaking the Silence movement. Psychological pain, depression and self-harm are not things that should be hidden away in the deepest darkness and never spoken of. It is not a sin to have depression. It does not mean that you are weak. I know there are many other people like me. That is why I am writing this. It’s for you. I watched my best friend going through the same (or worse) things that I went through and, frankly, that hurt more than going through it myself. Only by breaking the silence can we help each other.
There were a few other things that I also wanted to say, but I don’t think it would be appropriate after this post. Next week I plan to do another literary cartoon. Because I can. 😉
PS. If you ever want to talk about your scars and pain, I’m here. You can email me – there’s a link under the “About” drop-down list at the top of the page. Maybe I can’t help, but I can listen.