This post is dedicated to my beautiful daughters, my lovely niece and anyone who has suffered trauma in their lives.
Unfortunately, it is true that none of us can get through this life unscathed. They say that adversity builds character, and for the most part that is true. It is what we do with our adverse experiences that turns victims into survivors and losers into triumphant winners.
I studied the genocides of the past 20th century and what stood out for me was that there is no culture that has not been affected in some way by this devastating phenomena. The past century will show some very harsh examples, starting with the Armenian and Jewish holocausts, reaching into Cambodian, China, The African Sudan, The Middle East and further into history, sadly there are so many others and too many to list here. It is safe to say that man’s inhumanity to man knows no boundaries and does not discriminate.
In my Anthropology/Literature Honors Seminar on the genocides of the past century, I discovered two authors that I would like to examine briefly here: Adeline Yen Mah author of Falling Leaves/The Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter and He Liyi author of Mr. China’s Son/A Villagers Life.
In Falling Leaves, I found Adeline Yen Mah very self pitying, whereas He Liyi took the Pollyanna approach to life when faced with adversity. Mah comes from a rich and affluent family and Liyi was from a poor obscure family.
No matter what happened in Liyi’s life he took it in stride and made the best of it, whereas Mah tended to lament her misfortune, evidence that there is no reality only perception. It is your perception and your expectations that guide your attitude toward life.
Liyi didn’t have expectations, he made the best of every situation , whereas Mah, coming from affluence had very strict standards as to how her life should go. When comparing the two, Liyi suffered greater indignation upon his being than Mah, but that does not discount one trauma over the other. They were both traumatized and felt the effects and no one can measure how trauma will effect an individual. I do not believe that one trauma should be minimized over another. Trauma is trauma, pain is pain and all needs to be handled with tender loving care.
Everything is relative, I am not saying that people from more affluent backgrounds can not cope as well as those from more obscure backgrounds. I am merely trying to illustrate that attitude and perception helps define reality. An example is you stubbed your toe or you broke your toe. Both are painful and one takes longer to heal, but in the end we can not let pain define us.
No one on the earth has control over external forces such as their government, the weather or other cataclysmic events on a macrocosmic level, nor do they have control as children on a microcosmic level.
People suffer traumas on a microcosmic level within their own family and when interacting in social settings. An abusive childhood does end, and an adult can remove themselves from bad situations on a microcosmic level. We must strive and survive every single circumstance that confronts us.
When encountering the genocides throughout history or looking at the abuse one can encounter within their own social settings, we can see that the only thing a person can control is their perception or their attitude toward the events in their lives.
One can lament over their circumstance, wring their hands and gnash their teeth, or one can rise above the situation like a phoenix out of the ashes with gratitude that the situation they were once in is now over. They are now free of it physically, but work must be done to free themselves spiritually.
Your perception is the critical component to bringing yourself out of a traumatizing event and freeing yourself spiritually. Whether those events are brought on by an individual or a random occurrence should not matter. The only thing that matters is how you perceive it and how you allow it to affect you in the future.
One cannot let traumatic events define their lives. One must take those experiences and use them as a tool to define how strong they are to be able to overcome any obstacle, to survive any injustice, and remain true to their authentic self. One must cleanse their spirit, knowing that the traumatic event had nothing to do with them and everything to do with the perpetrator.
We all have dents and chinks in our armor. Those dents and chinks should be worn with pride like a badge of honor; we not only experienced it, but survived it. That, that does not kill us makes us stronger. It takes strength to embrace our traumas, to accept that they happened and then to leave them behind like so many fallen leaves.
Everything is relative. There is no reality only perception. It is your perception that will bring you through any event in your life.
The attitudes and opinions above can be found in my debut novel, Electric, Books, 1, 2, 3 & 4.
As always I thank you for your time and attention. I bid you peace everlasting.