Recently, I was talking to a friend about an ugly thing that happened to her. She wanted to know if she should tell someone in her life about it. I did my best to advise her without pushing her one way or another. I gave her a decision tree. If she thinks sharing this will bring them closer together and that’s what she wants, yes. If she wants to let her friend experience her more fully, yes. If she doesn’t think she can handle a disappointing reaction from her friend, no. I gave her a handful more scenarios for this decision tree. At this point in my friendship with her, we had already exchanged stories. I had told her about the ugliest thing that happened to me. The emotional scar that no one can visibly see on my body. I told her that it took me two decades to fully process it and I had to do it in stages with a lot of breaks. I told her that now I tell my story if others tell me theirs and I can sense they’re feeling isolated and alone. I told her that I plan on telling my story if I find myself regressing to that time in my life because I’m being triggered by someone I want to keep in my life.
I told her all this to remind her that the emotional scars from the ugly things that happen to her in life are part of her story. So now I’m telling you. That ugly thing that happened to you? It shapes you. You can share it as a tool for intimacy. You can share it as a tool for self-discovery. You can not share it for preservation. You can share it to be heard. It’s yours and you can do whatever you want with it. Whatever happened was inexplicably ugly but you are beautiful. And if the people you share it with try to make that ugly thing your fault or don’t receive it in a way where you feel supported, it doesn’t change that you are beautiful. It just might mean that they’re not your people. And the fuck with them.