Survival

Survival isn’t easy.

No matter what the songs say, what doesn’t kill you doesn’t automatically make you stronger.

You can somehow find a way to get through things because you have no other option. But you think that means it will get easier. You survived, so you must be stronger. Isn’t that how the saying goes?

It must get easier to struggle through at some point. Practice makes perfect. But nothing changes. And you’re taken more and more for granted. Then, when you finally find the strength to admit that you aren’t okay…who will believe you? You got through it before, you’ll be fine.

But they didn’t see the tears. They didn’t see you tearing your hair out, ripping into every part of your character, hating yourself for every word uttered and every thought left unspoken. Searing your soul with self loathing and impotent rage.

Just because you made it out the other side, doesn’t mean you’re stronger. You don’t have to be stronger. It’s OK to still feel weak and shattered, and tired. Surviving, and struggling, isn’t lessened by the fact that you’re still breathing at the end of it. It doesn’t automatically erase the pain it took to get there.

By surviving, you proved that you could force yourself to keep going because you had no choice. If you had to break yourself apart, stare at the clock watching every agonising second tick by, and scream at yourself that you should be better than this…if that’s what it took to keep going…wouldn’t you wonder if that can really be considered success?

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

I hate that saying. Maybe it’s true for some people, but the concept irritates me. Our experiences shape us, mould us, help us grow. They change us. But to say we’re stronger? I wonder if that expectation just puts more shame on those of us still forging our paths on the other side of trauma. I know I don’t feel stronger. I feel tired. Sometimes I feel lucky.

My traumas didn’t make me stronger. They gave me perspective. That perspective helped me find the wisdom to see that I always had the tools I needed. I just didn’t know how to use them.

Maybe, one day, practice really will make perfect.

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