Where is that smell coming from????. I search. I search more. All day I smell it. I can’t find it. Finally I make the discovery of the belt. I ask how long has this belt been here. Just a day. It has cologne on it. Who knows from where or who but it does. I take it outside and wipe it off. I start to hyperventilate. I start to heave in the yard. I can’t get the smell off. I turn the hose on and spray off the belt. Then I toss it in the garage and turn the box fan on it to dry it. Classic PTSD incase you don’t know the signs. I then get in the shower. I have no idea how long I’ve been in there. When I get out I feel my back stinging. I look at it in the mirror. I can see the bones sticking out of my back. I wonder what I have eaten today but can’t really recall. My back is splotchy. My legs are streaked. The water was too hot. I scrubbed my skin raw. The scrubber is not my friend. Or is it!
I lay down on my bed staring at the picture of a hawk on my wall. Don’t close your eyes. Just look at the picture. But my fingers are tingly and I can barely feel my legs. I close my eyes. And I think. No one knows what it feels like to be me.
If you have not hurled at the smell of cologne. You don’t know what it feels like to be me.
If you haven’t written this sentence 5 times backwards. You don’t know what it feels like to be me.
If you haven’t…
Rescued a kitten just to have it suffer and die in your arms.
Hold the hand of a dying woman as she passes over.
Met the man of your dreams.
Given birth after 30 hours of labor.
Climbed to the top of a 3 tier pyramid at Cypress Gardens, pull out the American flag that was stuck in your shirt and hold it high in the air as the people in the crowd clap.
Won first place in a waterski competition even though you almost fell.
Learned how to do a trick on your ski that most people do 2 handed but you learned one handed because your other arm was broken which is what won you the competition.
Known your grandfather died before anyone told you.
Known your nana died before anyone told you.
Watched your daughter suffer from a failing organ 3 times!
Watched your child suffer a 4 year debilitating illness.
Been treated like a sex toy at the age of 11.
Been raped in the shower by the time you were 17.
Felt every bone in your body like a walking skeleton due to bone pain.
Watched your body waste away due to atrophy of a muscle disease.
Forget when the last time you ate was because you had grand mal seizures that scrambled your brain.
Been forced to touch a penis when you were only 14…
Then you don’t know how it feels to be me.
No one knows how it feels to be me.
Then my daughter comes in, “Mom, you burned off a lot of adrenaline. Eat this granola bar. Hold on let me check your heart rate and oxygenation. Ok it looks good. Now eat this and you’ll feel better. You aren’t going to have a seizure are you? Do you need meds?”
My daughter does not know how it feels to be me. She did however notice I was struggling, suffering.
But my daughter knows how to give compassion. She knows how to love. She knows how to nurture.
No one can know how it feels to be me. No one has lived through the good and the bad I have lived through.
I can’t know how it feels to be you.
No one can really know what it feels like to be you.
The suffering and the pain, the joy, the sorrow, and the celebration, are our own moments in time. They are our own stories.
We may not know how it feels to be living another person’s life, but we can choose compassion. We can choose love. We can choose presence. We can choose to listen.
I felt, in my bed just now, that no one could possibly know what it felt like to be me and therefore I was utterly alone. But, it did not take someone knowing what it felt like to be me to make me feel un-alone. It took love. All it took was one person, that happened to be my daughter, to show that no matter what I was feeling, it was worthy of her time. Whatever I was going through was worthy of her checking to make sure I was ok. She is only 21. She gave me a great gift. The gift of wisdom that I am now sharing with you due to her ability to love.
Unless you happen to have seizures, a muscle disease, a bone disease, lost your dog to cancer, have a sick child, etc, then that just means, you aren’t me! There is no other me. There is no other you. We are originals. Our circumstances may be similar. Our emotions may be similar. Whether we have similarities or are completely different, but we each have the ability to choose empathy. My daughter has experienced not one of the the things I have that would allow her to know how it felt to walk in my shoes, thankfully. She does not KNOW how it FEELS to BE ME.
Yet, her heart knows my heart. Simply because she chooses to love.
Need there be anything more…