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Pain in the form of an abusive step parent, bullying, assault, sexual assault, broken home and a couple of significant car accidents. They have all absolutely changed my life forever- physically, emotionally and mentally.
By changing me, they have also all hardened me (the saying what doesn't kill you just makes you stronger is nothing but absolute truth) and when any one experiences pain, the natural reaction of hardening is completely respected and understandable.
While I share these things, one thing I very much want to make crystal clear, is that I am no victim. I am not to be pitied, or felt sorry for. I have absolutely no regrets, nor would I (if I could) go back in time and change any of the outcomes. I am no different from everyone else in this world. EVERYONE experiences pain, - significant and meaningful - and I would not be the person I am today if I hadn't been made to go through it all.
I am thankful.
I have forgiven.
The one and only sticky spot to moving forward is - I just can't figure out how to be "innocent" again. It's to be expected that after pain cuts you, you're left with a scars - a wall of protection, a lack of trust and questioning of those around you, even if they haven't (yet) given you a reason to distrust them. The walls we build protect us. They provide a buffer from all the vulnerabilities we are terrified to show. BUT, at the same time, these walls can hinder us.
How do you, we, I, become innocent again? It's a continuous work in progress. Soon, (hopefully), with work, we can laugh, smile, giggle, explore, goof around and let others that surround us have view of our true. unguarded selves without fear and distrust again.
I guess the first step in anything, is acknowledgement.