To My Younger Self. Don’t stop smiling, but don’t hide the bruises.

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The things I would the that woman there but still can’t help but  enjoy the big open smile and the very truth behind it. It was genuine right there. No matter what in life, I smile. But also that I truly am happy even when not everything is great.

Someone said to me that they were sorry I’ve had a bad life and though I have had hard times I do not at a consider my life bad. Do I consider that much should have been different? Especially in childhood? Absolutely. But I still had good and great moments and I sill drew from the bad the best that I could. As a writer I will draw on raw emotions and bad times and when I get to those moments I will speak about them.

I learned a long time ago that if you hide things people will find out anyway and use it against you…so I don’t. I smiled in pictures that ended up in five different magazines and newspapers and looked like the quote unquote “cutest couple” with my ex-husband and nobody knew I had bruises I was hiding from only the night before. My thighs were completely black, I almost lost an ear that I hid with my hair, earlier that morning the puffiness of my face was not one I could take in public and I learned well how to reduce swelling which I did up until the second I arrived. Its crazy what many might hide behind a smile. I did an injustice to women and for domestic abuse everywhere by staying silent. I hugged his next girlfriend as she cried after she had pressed charges against him when he hit her. But it took me three years before I ever even whispered it to anybody.

I talk openly now about myself and my life. Growing up the way I did – abuse in my marriage, mental illness because I grew up with it and have been close to it, even jail, because it does no good to stay silent. Not for myself, nor anybody else. There are a lot of people who have lived through much worse and everybody is trying to find out from others how they did it just as much as they are trying to find out how to bake a cake from pinterest. But I still have no answers.

But though there are smiles that hide a lot of pain there are truly smiles that are full of pure happiness. Things I will treasure always. Moments I was able to forget the bad for a moment and consume myself with the good. And moments when life really was just that awesome no matter how the hurricanes raged, I was able to enjoy the storms. That would be my super power if I was to name one. What would I tell that woman from over six years ago? Just can you believe only six years and yet so so long ago six years. You will make big decisions. They are right ones. You’ve got this. Smile in the face of the storm. You are ok. Of course I also would have told her to hit the mother fucker back. But she wouldn’t have listened. They never do listen to good advice. But as she found on her own eventually, when you do find your voice, use it.

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