I turn 36 tomorrow. Strangely enough, in this later period of my life, I have been given the recent opportunity to experience many things that oddly enough, in all of my life, I have never experienced.
I have experienced the absolute joy of being heard and seen, validated by an outside source.
I have experienced the closest thing to unconditional love that I have known, outside of my children.
I have finally felt for the first time in 25 years that I was not broken or ruined or soiled or somehow less than.
I have known what it was like to be loved, to feel loved, and to be love. I have learned to trust, to feel safe trusting. The verb and the noun.
I have handled uncomfortable situations with maturity and I was proud of who I am, what I have done, what I have learned.
I have learned I am worthy of being looked at in intimate moments.
I have learned that being vulnerable, open, and honest is not a weakness.
I finally understood that my past was not a flaw, that my choices and my experiences were beautiful, they made me who I am today, a person worthy of love and compassion.
I have learned the simple grace of words, thoughtful and meaningful words.
But I have also been given the reflection of these things. The insight that learned habits are destructive. That even if I am experiencing the above things, I may not be giving the same experience to others.
I have learned that when I think that I am saying one thing, it may not be received in the context or purpose that was intended.
Sometimes, I fail at it.
Sometimes I trigger people and I cannot take back my words.
I hurt people.
I let my insecurities smother things or they cause me to not hear people.
I am capable of implying judgment, even when I think I am doing something else.
Misunderstandings and the resulting conversations of them can indeed be more damaging than the original misunderstanding.
Language is funny. It is so powerful and so important.
Words are important.
Even the most benign seeming words can be the most deadly, malevolent.
I know I am human.
I am fallible.
I am still learning.
I am not even close to perfect and that is acceptable.
I am a queen.
But if I am the queen of anything, it is finding silver linings in the saddest of things.
Growth is painful.
Learning is hard.
Self-reflection and acknowledgement of failure is overwhelmingly agonizing.
The payoff though, is that you have a choice then: you become better from it or you ignore it.
I am not ignoring it.
“The difference is this. Pain is a gift. Without the capacity for pain, we can’t feel the hurt we inflict.” -The Twelfth Doctor