Tough, or centered?
For about six weeks recently — feels like it lasted much longer than that — I had to deal with a medical condition. Details aren’t for publication. But it entailed a lot of discomfort, and constant extra attention to hygiene, that I found humiliating. At one point I said, “This is an ordeal.” Another time, I posted on FaceBook, “It’s OK to cry.”
Then came the time I said, “When this is all over, I’ll forget it soon and almost completely.” I will hardly remember it, and will have no real bad memories about it. I will say:
It came, it went, and I’m no worse for wear.
How can this be?
I attribute it to my centeredness. I am so focused on the present, on here – now – can, on accepting the things I cannot change; that nothing much can disturb me.
I may go through life and incur no emotional scars.
Are emotional scars inevitable in life?
There are those who insist that all black folk do or must think as they themselves do. These folk will not admit that different people experience different degrees of racism. On the one hand, it’s well known that children of military families meet fewer events of blatant racism than do black civilian children. On the other hand, two people can meet the same racist event, and the one blow it off and the other be deeply injured. The difference is how centered each one is.
Centeredness also pertains to whether one allows a scar to heal, or instead picks at it so it never goes away; whether one loves the wound, so as to heal it, or hates the wound, making it forever new. Some people claim scars from distant historical events, like the Middle Passage or the Shoah, that have never been part of their here-and-now. There is no need to do this.
Some people meet events so extreme that one can hardly not be scarred for life. A high school classmate has PTSD behind seeing combat in Iraq or Afghanistan. People lose arms and legs in roadside bomb explosions. Some come through no worse for wear. Are those who don’t, not tough enough?
It’s not a matter of being tough, but centered.