Brave, Bruised, Beautiful

I am brave, I am bruised, I am who I’m meant to be, this is me.
                                                                                               The Greatest Showman

Something new happened to me recently. I was shamed–I didn’t even realize I was being shamed at first, initially it felt more like a scolding, which to be honest was just as wrong. They did not know my story – nor did they care to even venture a “what brings you here” kind of conversation. Somehow this person felt sure enough in themselves to judge me based on what they thought they knew about me. It hurt my feelings – I didn’t let on in front of them but when I got to my car I started crying- not a lot, but a cry nonetheless. I told myself all the things that I knew to be true: I am not my circumstances, my value is not defined by my past, I am worthwhile and worth it – regardless of whether or not this person believed it.

Three years ago, maybe even one year ago I am not sure if I would have rebounded as quickly.  But had they paused to talk to me and not at me, they would have discovered that I make no apologies or excuses for where I am at right now, where I am at this moment because I know “this moment” isn’t going to be forever. So when they turned to me and in a superior manner said “I hope I’ve helped you” as they were walking out the door, little did they know exactly how they helped.

You see, I’m not afraid of you –of how you want to rank me in order of being worthy of your time. I’m not afraid of your words –my value isn’t measured by how you see me. I’m not afraid of your influence in society-you don’t know me and you never will. I have fought a fight that you will never know, I have battle scars that you can only hope you never have to endure, and I found the courage to stand when others might have buckled. So yes, you did help me – you reminded me that I have come a long way, and while my journey is far from over, it is still my journey. Next time we meet I hope you can see beyond the superficial, beyond the story, beyond the circumstances. Next time I hope you see past the bruises, past the bumps, past the scars – I hope you see the fire that’s inside me, fueled ever stronger by my encounter with you.

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