We all have skeletons in our closet. Ghosts from our past that dictate who we’ve become today. Some choose to block out those negative stepping stones as if it was poison that has somehow made their life worse or wrong. Others relish in their hardships and see them as defining aspects of their character, highlights of their past, present, and future.
As 20 somethings, our past really only encompasses our upbringing and coming of age (where a certain parental unit is likely the scapegoat). As 30 or 40 somethings, we’ve probably caused a little detriment of our own.
Conversations we get into, talking about how hard life was [in our situation], how much we’ve been through, or seen; these conversations brings us to some kind of camaraderie or connection with another person on a somewhat deeper level. For some strange reason we want to know that some other human has suffered some injustice of their childhood, and that, that brings us together, as if it were proof.
Why is it that pain brings us closer? Is that saying that person who had a happy, normal life couldn’t possibly empathize with a person who didn’t? We, as humans, speak so fervently of our experience – in life, in jobs, travel, education, worldliness, even wine! Just think of how many times a day you say that word – experience. They have it, you want it, and even if “it” was actually buying a bagel in a coffee shop – we use that loaded word: “experience,” making our eyes grow big and sarcastically smiling so everyone knows, it was beyond ordinary (even if it wasn’t).
I too am at fault here. I find it difficult to understand a person who has been handed everything in life. The “trauma” of my life happened when I was 13. I recall telling my mother that I felt like I was suddenly 40, suddenly wiser than my peers, who I never gave the chance to understand my situation.
It was not until I got over the “experience” that I had had that I finally wanted to tell the world. I wanted to shout what I’d survived to anyone that would listen. But that’s really not the point, is it?
The point, for those of you who’re wondering, is not to assume that a person can’t understand, or won’t understand. Sometimes, the people who will actually ‘get it’ are the ones you would least expect.
I had my ‘experience’ at a young age. And now, I must say that for those of us who have been in that defining, life changing place, that ghost we push away sometimes, its now our turn to listen.
You, my friend, have the experience, they want it. So listen, and give it.