I Didn’t Know How Bad it Was
“I didn’t know how bad it* was.”
I don’t believe you.
Now, stay with me a minute.
It’s not that I think you are lying. Not at all. It’s that I think you knew how bad it was, but you felt powerless to change it.
And because you felt powerless, you convinced yourself that it was better than it actually was.
Just like you did with your childhood, or that abusive relationship or that terrible job.
So you turned away from the pain and you reached for anything that would help you cope: friends, books, television, sports, alcohol, work.
And these tools were a welcome distraction from that pain—that visceral pain that was too uncomfortable to bear if you thought about it or felt it for too long.
The personal pain. The collective pain.
It’s not your fault—you were just trying to survive.
Once upon a time, you were a child and you were, indeed, powerless. And that’s how this pattern began. But you’re not a child anymore. And you’re no longer powerless.
You have a voice. And you have free will. You have the power to make different choices.
But first you must turn toward the pain—the personal pain and the collective pain. Pain seeks acknowledgment in order to integrate and heal. The resolution comes through facing it.
It will not just go away.
It’s your choice to look. To act. To heal.
Or you can stay where you are and tell me again in five years that you didn’t know how bad it was.
*it = racism, the climate, your health, whatever personal or collective challenge