Ever catch yourself reflecting on survival? Specifically, given the endless number of ways people inflict pain on each other, how do some people cope with what they've endured?
Recently - soon after being exposed to another horror story - I began spiraling into a doom loop. To escape the cloud that engulfed me, I tried meditating, playing my guitar, surrendered to mindless TV. No luck. Even a nap didn't provide the needed respite; disturbing dreams interfered.
All of you know the kind of stories I'm referencing here. Tell me: If you'd endured and then survived a horrific ordeal like most of us have heard or read about, what do you suppose would follow? Would the pain twist you into something dark, ensuring the cycle would continue? Or would the damage of that pain instead push you to retreat from engaging with the world?
Perhaps you see yourself following a third path, one we've all seen frequently portrayed. These folks are shaped but not defined by their unspeakable pain. They learn, become better for the experience, and the portrayals of them are designed to inspire those of us who have never survived anything like they have as well as motivate those from similar circumstances to transcend their ordeals. Although I usually succumb to the inspirational aspect of these portrayals, I'm rarely convinced I would act so heroically.
And that part of my waking reverie about survivors left me with more questions. How many survivors have I encountered in my life? How sensitive was I as they tried to share their stories with me? What were my differing reactions to survivors from each of the three groups, i.e., the dark, the walking wounded, the thriving? What did my reactions to each of their stories say about me as a person?