I’ve hurt my ankle so many times, that it’s become a permanent injury. It almost always hurts, some days more than others. At first on those more painful days I would limp to try to take some of the weight off the bad ankle. But then I noticed that I started to develop problems in the knee on my opposite leg, and my hips would hurt, which would throw off my back, which caused a kink in my neck, which gave me headaches. By limping to help my ankle, I inadvertently affected the rest of my body.
My ankle felt better, but the rest of me suffered. I finally realized that if I walked normally and gritted my teeth through the pain on those bad days I was better off in the long run. And truth be told walking normally didn’t extend the duration of my “bad days”. All the limping did was draw attention to the hurt and cause collateral damage. Eventually I stopped noticing the bad days. It’s not that the pain went away. I simply didn’t acknowledge it as I had before. It had become a part of my reality, for better or for worse and I wasn’t going to let it affect me anymore than was necessary.
I think the same can be said for our emotional scars. By fixating on our past hurts and injustices we inadvertently affect every other aspect of our lives. Whether we realize it or not, we are limping through life, and that limp seeps into and damages everything else we hold dear. But if we can have the courage to stop limping, to grit our teeth and walk through the pain with our heads held high, we will no longer be held hostage by our darkest hours. And eventually, those scars will cease to draw our attention away from what is truly important.
Mother’s day always itches at one of my scars, a scar that will be with me for the rest of my days. I’ve gotten to the point, that on most days I’m fine. I walk through. But for me, Mother’s day is like ripping the band-aid off of a fresh wound. My mom died when I was 20 after an 18-year illness. It doesn’t take a Rhodes scholar to figure out that I, for all intents and purposes, lost something that I never had. I cannot relate to the Hallmark propaganda that floods the markets every May. When something bad happens, my first reaction has never been, “I want my mom.” I cannot relate.
I have a handful of “adopted” moms, that I love dearly, and that I have turned to for support and guidance. They have and I’m sure will always play a huge part in my life, and I don’t know that I will ever be able to thank them enough for that. However, every year come Mother’s day I find myself picking at that scar and remembering the loss of my own mother. And sometimes before I know it, I realize that I’m limping once more. But that’s okay because we’re all allowed our bad days, and I know that tomorrow will be better and the limp will subside as I once more hold my head high.