When I was a little girl I used to dream of living in a Manhattan penthouse apartment, miles away from where I grew up. I didn’t have a specific plan about what I would be doing for a career or if I would be married or even with a partner. All I knew was that I would live in New York City, high above the street and life would be an adventure.
Fast forward many years, and I do in fact live in Manhattan. Although my dream wasn’t specific to my career or family life, the feeling I had so long ago is still present inside me and gives me chills to this day.
I fucking live in NYC!
The childish dream had a feeling to it. It had a deep resonance that I felt to my toes. I know now that the fantasy was about much more than a specific destination, but rather a place far away from my frightening and abusive childhood. The dream signified the possibility for me that I could have a life that wasn’t defined by my father’s abuse and my mother’s codependency. That what was possible for me had nothing to do with the deep hurt that I ingested at the hands of my father’s violent anger.
You see, pain and trauma lie to us. It tells us that we somehow deserved this life. That we aren’t as worthy to live a good life as other people. Somehow the pain we endure at the hands of other people, carries with it a message of inadequacy. That somehow if I was better or more worthy, perhaps I could have stopped the pain or fixed it. And because I couldn’t, I am to blame.
So when I asked myself as a child, why not me, I was asking if my life was meant to have joy in it, was my life meant to have meaning, could I be in healthy relationships where we talked about our hopes and dreams and we apologized when we hurt each other and really tried not to do it again. I was asking myself if I had earned the right to have a healthy life.
Pain can be internalized in such a way that we carry with us a deep fear that somehow we were only meant to be hurt and that even if we dreamed it, we couldn’t really have more.
I’m here to tell you that pain lies.
You see the pain you have endured is what has happened to you, it is not who you are. Your pain is a result of your survival but it does not define you. If we could surgically remove your pain, in its place we would find the real you. We would find your dreams, your hopes and your possibilities.
Don’t let your pain or trauma rob you of your dreams. Don’t let your wounds color what you really want and don’t let it steal your potential.
When someone hurts us, it says something about them, not you. They are acting out their own story. It isn’t about you. You have your own story to tell and you deserve to see your dreams come true.