Late summer 2016, I was at the beach picking up broken shells and rocks that I found along the tide waters. Those that I kept, I stuck in my pocket and lovingly took them home and displayed them throughout the house. These fractured bits of shell and rock are my reminders that there can be beauty in what is broken.
I collected them because, at that time, I felt broken. Having been diagnosed with a plethora of issues ranging from blood pressure and physical distress to mental health concerns, I felt as if my body, still young, was giving out on me.
Picking up these jagged bits reminded me of my favorite scar, one that my mother and I share on the same finger but different sides which was given to us by the same individual. In the midst of bloodshed, fear, anxiety, and a solid three stiches each, we found humor in the events that lead to our shared scars.
While I could go on about the duplicity of meaning scars have for me that is a story for another day because as I can show my favorite scar and talk about how I received it and how my mother has one similar on the same finger, these scars are only skin deep. These are the ones that make it easier to find humor in, as we frequently know there is a story tied to such a scar.
Growing up, I often heard elders speak of knowing who the “carpenters” were because they always had scars on their hands or “missing a few digits” so it fascinated me as a young child to know that my father, who also had these scars, had one that he didn’t like to talk about. It was a long, jagged, and puckered section on his upper leg that looked both newer and redder than the other skin on his legs.
Through the years of my questioning (I think I wore him down), I started to glean bits of the story that led to that scar and found that story, unlike the story my mother and I share, is distinctly different. This story was one of survival, rather than some spilled blood. It was different. And I learned then that not all scars are appreciated, and that while there is always a story behind them, people are less likely to share if they haven’t fully healed yet.
Traumatic events take a long time to heal from.
I did not fully realize this until I went through a similar process myself that left me with several invisible, but highly tangible scars that my medical team and massage therapists work to relieving some of the added stress my body feels by simply functioning.
To do the things I enjoy most, writing and reading, inherently mean that I am putting my back, neck and shoulders, in positions that will bring about physical pain. But to step away from these things, invites mental and emotional pain to seep through.
I wish I could tell you that I have the fortitude and self-awareness to actually take the breaks I know I need to take so that my body keeps functioning and working in the way that it can, but I am a terrible liar.
One of the side effects of wearing your heart on your sleeve 🤷♀️
What I can tell you is that when these two worlds collide, it doesn’t take long for things to other areas to dive into chaos – and I mean chaos. Things like, the last post, where I suddenly felt compelled to write and said we were having pizza and I didn’t care? We’re all lactose intolerant.
I continued down this path of madness and firmly placed myself in a position where I was able to see for myself, how far I had let myself slide after rescheduling both a chiro and doctor’s appointment within days of each other.
Legit, it hit me like the old V8 commercial.
I knew that I needed to start to make some changes and the first was the language I used to myself. When I started to go to the kitchen for a snack, I’d hear Tatianna’s voice say, “Choices” and I would make a small adjustment to what I was going for until I started to get back on track for myself.
In my healing journey, I’ve found what works for me and my body, so what works for me may not work for you, but one thing I have found to ring true for everyone I have met is that talking about it helps and it has to start with us – two people coming together to communicate.
This is where the healing process comes full circle. Through sharing our grief with others, we learn that it is a process, and in that process, we grow, and others grow with us because how we treat ourselves is a direct representation of how we treat others. When we show ourselves kindness and compassion, we have more kindness and compassion to share with others, who will then share it with others.
One single act of kindness can go a long way.
I know that when I can find humor in a situation, I am coming full circle in my healing process because I am ready to share. Now while, I won’t go into the goory details of the literal shit storm I created in my house, know that I did have to buy toilet paper at the grocery store.
Like a single act of kindness, the choices we make are a reflection of how we speak to ourselves. If you catch yourself saying that you are stressed or tired or ouchy – it’s because you probably are and aren’t listening to what your body is telling you.
Now, here’s the real kicker in the teeth – these same choices reflect outward from us to others. My choice to make a quick, easy dinner may have pleased the Teen greatly, but we all paid the price.
And each time we make these choices, we are not only making decisions that affect ourselves, but everyone around us. Thankfully, my shit storm was relatively contained and easily dealt with, but not all are.
Showing Off Our Scars
We, as humans, love a good story. We love to hear them and share them because they connect us with each other and the world around us. Like the gnarled and worn hands of my elders growing up, scars a way of telling our story to the world. They are a sign of a life that has been lived and continues to live.
This is one of the reasons why even though we don’t like to admit it, we’re drawn to social media. By simply being on, we’re more connected to others’ stories. We can learn more about each other as individuals, and not only learn more about their story, but become a greater part of their story. Or perhaps they can become a greater part of your story. Either way, we become thickly, intricately, and deeply connected with a multitude of individuals who have their own unique story…
For some, this can be incredibly addicting as these stories can be representative of “reality tv” in the shear visceral connection of stories being told – having the ability to “interact” and “take part” in others’ lives can easily be applied to social media where, given the proper disposition could lead to some really negative things. But even those who aren’t addicted per say, will still feel the effects of this from those who are.
Because our choices affect others.
We can see the real-world effects of this on social media. Right now, I want you to go to your open tab with Facebook, or if you are reading this on mobile, go up to the three dots at the top and touch – Open in Browser and then go back to your app. Now, go to your Profile and look at your most recent 10 posts. Make a note of how many positive, neutral, and negative posts you made and the reactions on each – one point for every like, heart, care, wow, or angry and two points for every received comment.
Have your tally? Good. Now, I’m sure you’ve already found one thing – those neutral posts are just meh. They don’t do a whole lot. This is because they are just a part of the minutia of the story. It’s background, fluff, sometimes it’s nice but a little goes a long way.
I guarantee you; your top two performers are positive and negative posts. And what’s more, I’m willing to bet most of you reading this found a whole lot more posts in the neutral and negative territory than you thought you would.
Let’s dig into that a bit more.
Take a look at that tally of positive verses negative posts. As negative posts tend to garner more responses – more comments specifically, it’s important to start looking for consistencies there first. Who are your repeat commenters or those who react to the negative posts?
Look for individuals who respond to these types of posts more than twice. Then go to their social media profile and see what their most recent posts look like. If their tally is similar to yours, you have a shit storm brewing.
Proceed with caution.
Why do I tell you to proceed with caution? Because I learned a long time ago, that these are warning signs of a place not yet fully healed, even if they look to be on the outside.
From what my young eyes could see, I thought my father was fully healed from his traumatic experience as a young child. What I failed to understand was that while it looked healed, he had yet to heal from the experience. Today, I know that it is a process and that there are times when things are best left unsaid, unasked out of respect of the healing process. And I know that when the time is right, all that needs to be answered will be.
I also know that sometimes I don’t ask the right questions and sometimes speak out of turn. And that is when the shit storm moves from brewing to warning pretty quickly. How all this plays out, your guess is as good as mine, but I guarantee you it breaks the bounds of the digital space. We’ve not only witnessed it, we’ve felt this play out in our own lives.
“It’s going to be a pizza night and I don’t care”
Remember how I said that when I find humor in something, I know I’m working on healing from it? 😉 That’s what being SMRT is all about, which again, is another blog for another day, remember the whole duplicity thing? Yeah…. I digress….
Grab your tally sheet again, because we aren’t done with it. This is where the true power of knowledge comes in – go back through and look at your positive posts. Now, take a look at how many different people responded to your positive post.
Remember the power of one single act of kindness? What if that single act of kindness was something you did for yourself? What if from that single act of kindness, you did for yourself, multiplied out and helped those you didn’t even know you were touching?
Holy shit, a birthday post shows EXACTLY how many people see your posts from you alone. These are people who know and care about you but it’s important to remember that you are a part of their story as well.
How you present yourself on social media is a mirror that you can check to see how you are feeling. If you did not have any positive posts in your most recent postings, it may be time to take a step back and look to see what other areas of your life this shit storm has spread to.
These things are rarely contained as one might hope.
Take note to the time lapse between these two blog posts and know that I have not yet been to either doctor appointment, or have I scheduled my massage yet. It’s a process.