This meme has been floating around the internet for a while now. I’ve seen several people post it on their Facebook pages. It makes me sad.
I understand that these people are trying to explain that they have been traumatized in one way or another. Some people have gone through some horrific experiences at the hands of others. Speaking from experience, that isn’t right and it isn’t fair and it changes you. I agree that no one should have the right to be cruel or abusive to anyone else. If only a meme would prevent that. We all know that it won’t.
I also understand that someone saying sorry isn’t going to make everything all sunshine and lollipops again. But I disagree that this show of remorse isn’t helpful. It can be part of your healing process. An even bigger part, albeit a very difficult one, is forgiveness. Forgiveness isn’t for the person or persons who have wronged you. It’s for you. It sets you free.
This meme, to me, is a way of saying that you’ve been hurt by the world and you absolutely refuse to heal, or you can’t find a path toward healing. That’s tragic. It says you’ve taken the unwanted abuse and now intend to grasp it tightly, with both hands, for the rest of your life, even though you never wanted it in the first place.
But here’s the thing, dear reader: You are not a plate. You are not an inanimate object that is broken and is then forever frozen in time in that broken state. You are a living, breathing human being.
Healing is not easy. But if you are refusing to work toward it, you’re simply being self-destructive on top of the destruction that has been visited upon you. To remain wounded is your choice. It’s a choice only you can make. Why would you want to do that?
Yes, you will have scar tissue. We all have some to a certain extent. No, you’re not going to be the same as before.
Yes, what happened to you is wrong. But you’re not a plate. You can seek help, or find growth and healing on your own. A way forward is out there if you seek it. You don’t have to stop being a viable human being. Don’t give someone else that power to negate you in that way.
Don’t cling to your trauma so tightly that you can’t use your hands to build a life for yourself. Don’t relegate yourself to the status of a broken plate for the rest of your life. You are so much more than that. I promise.
6 thoughts on “You Are Not a Plate”
Sometimes the trauma clings to *you*. Sometimes no matter what you do it comes floating up in the bowl again. You have to ask yourself again why the surviving parent let the other one do that to you, just stood there and let them, year after year after year, and now they pretend not to remember any of it. Gimme a break. I don’t go around having hallucinations. I know what happened back then. It’s not like I haven’t tried to forget. To learn over and over that you aren’t worth protecting, what does that do to a kid–or an adult who is financially dependent?
And some things no counselor can help. You go thru life reasonably well, no thoughts of suicide or use of drugs, you build that life for yourself, and then every so often it pops up again, this or that bad memory, and you grind your teeth or something and gradually think your way out of it–but you can never look at your relatives, even your closest, in the way that you think everyone else can. So you find ways to adjust your moods without drugs, things you remind yourself of, and that helps. And then someone comes along with some talk of forgiveness, less articulate than what I have just read, and makes you feel like you’ve flunked Resilience 101 if you aren’t cheerful all the goddamn time.
Forgiveness is for animals and people who for some reason or another can’t know better. Not for someone who bloody well should have known better, and now pretends it never happened! Whether they will ever wise up and apologize, which I am sure will start the healing process, remains to be seen. A parent thinks they have to stay with their spouse due to financial needs, that’s one thing, but being so besotted with them you don’t notice their nasty temper and lack of respect for boundaries of someone who is smaller than them and who they aren’t sleeping with, that’s another entirely. (No, the witness did not hang back out of fear. My parents had the perfect marriage–whatever one of them did to me was just fine with the other’n. I don’t give a hack who someone sleeps with, but no one else needs to be caught in the crossfire.
I know there’s a lot of other people out there who’ve been thru worse, and who this will resonate with. I hope they find their way out. But till then, we who haven’t yet are tired of being told we are clinging to a trauma when it is vice versa. What we are clinging to is the truth.
I saw a t-shirt that says “Dear whatever doesn’t kill me, I am plenty strong already.”
Angi, you’re kind of proving my point, though. When I read this, I’m seeing a person who has learned survival skills in spite of the atrocities that were visited upon you. I’m seeing someone who has built a life. I’m not seeing somone broken. I’m seeing someone with scar tissue, yes, but you’re living life. I see someone who, when the stuff floats to the top, has learned to swim past it. So you’re not a plate. I’m not suggesting you be all happy, happy, joy, joy. I’m suggesting you see that your traumas are not you. They’re something horrible that happened to you. But you are awesome, Angi, just the way you are, you grumpy old sourpuss! I always enjoy your comments and feedback.
heh – if I’m a plate I never got broken. I guess I’m not ceramic. I got dropped and loved and kicked and supported. That sure did change me but it didn’t break me
You pretty much nailed it, Barb, though I’m not a sourpuss *all* the time. Chipped and dinged a bit, but not cracked.
Now yer talkin’! 🙂