The other day I was catching up on reading (you’d be surprised how little you actually read of other work when you spend your day writing) and I came across this piece on a girl who was in love with a guy who raped her. I read through the column, definitely had feelings or opinions about it and then I made the great mistake of looking at some of the comments. The first comment uses the incredibly dangerous phrase “actually raped,” as if there is an invisible sliding scale to determine sexual assault. But what bothered me the most wasn’t the fact that people started arguing about rape. What bothered me was the need for another girl to insinuate that her trauma was worse.
The thing about trauma is that it’s always terrible. But why is there a need to say “My trauma was worse than your trauma”?
I think we’ve all seen it. It can be small things like, “I was in a fender bender,” that’s combatted with “I was in a four car pile up.” But then there’s the escalation to “My boyfriend cheated on me,” to “Well mine did with my best friend who was a guy.” Or it’s as huge as someone saying “I used to have an eating disorder,” only to have someone else say, “Well I had a feeding tube mine was so bad.” And then we start arguing about the classification of rape or who was damaged more when in reality, all that matters is that at her core, a girl was violated and hurt.
And the worst part? I think we’re all guilty. It’s the one up game. You throw out a story about a drunken night and I have one that’s crazier. You talk about your first time getting a facial and I talk about the first time I went to a sex club (excuse the randomness). You talk about a one night stand that was awkward and I tell you about the time my one night stand was my Neighbor that I’d never spoken to the next weekend. It’s the competition gene that, like it or not, we all have. We’re all competitive to a certain extent and I think, and I absolutely hope, that it rarely comes from a malicious place.
But when it comes to comparing the things that have hurt us, the “my pain is worse than yours” trauma olympics, we need to knock it the fuck off! (again, excuse my French)
The fact of the matter is every single person on this earth is dealing with something and you have no way of feasibly knowing how it’s affecting them. It could be as simple as a minor annoyance that just crosses their mind from time to time, or it could be keeping them up at night. Every one has unfortunately had something bad happen to them, something we wouldn’t want to happen to us, and when you say, “Well this is what happened to me,” it is an attempt, whether intentional or not, to lessen their pain.
Instead of competing, instead of saying, “I got hurt worse than you,” why not try finding common ground? Why not say, “I’m so sorry that happened to you. This happened to me and I would never wish it upon anyone.” I guarantee you that opening up a dialogue instead of a fight will always make you feel better, instead of competing in something that no one wanted to sign up for in the first place.
Here’s the thing about the trauma olympics: no one wins. At the end of the day, you both were hurt, you both were violated, you both had your hearts broken and your spirits damaged. You can deem your pain worse and get in your own head that they’re exaggerating and don’t deserve to feel the way they do but that doesn’t mean you win; it means you are letting your own personal pain define you. And in deciding that your pain is worse and in turn worth more pity isn’t going to make you feel better, it’s going to keep you from moving on.
Just some food for thought …
I recently saw a quote on Instagram that said “Imagine if you could watch a trailer for your 2017, would you watch it?”, initially I was thinking to myself I would 100% if I got the chance but then I realized this time last year I would have said the very same but if I saw what was in store for 2016 I think I would have cried for both fear and excitement. I remember sitting down at the end of 2015 looking forward to the New Year so much. I was turning 23 the following year making plans and oblivious to what life actually had in store for me in the year ahead. In one way I was naive for the fact I had this feeling 2016 was going to be a walk in the park – boy was I wrong!
2016 had some incredible highs and miserable lows for me. It made me discover who I really am and what I actually want out of life, it helped me find my passion along with teaching me how to step outside my comfort zone but on the other hand it also broke me on numerous occasions and also taught me who will really be there when times get tough. I think everyone can say 2016 was a bit of a let down (I mean Donald Trump is now the President of the United States – huh? – well, not that anything is super gravy in Zambia either )but it’s a year I certainly would not change for the world. I feel like I have grown up and have learnt so much about myself that it has helped me develop into the person I know I am supposed to be.
When life got tough and I was battling my own demons, my blog became my safe place. It started out as a hobby and turned into something so much more, and I wouldn’t change a thing about it!
The world can be a cruel place, especially the online world where trolls sit eagerly behind a keyboard waiting to attack but I hope that in 2017 that’s not the case.
My love for writing and individuality is so strong that I love sharing it with you all. Writing on Girl Meets Life helps the voices in my head disappear along with removing any anxious thoughts I may have, and I hope it helps others too! I want to thank each and every single follower, reader & subscriber for your continued support. You have made my little hobby become a strong online presence and for that I am eternally grateful.
I am not going to write down my goals here for 2017 because you know what, I am just going to take each day as it comes! But each and everyday I am going to remind myself how lucky I am to live this life and how I should embrace every single moment because it could be taken away from me at any moment. Life is precious, celebrate it – you don’t know when it will all end.
I KNOW I’M OVER A MONTH LATE BUT STILL, A HAPPY 2017 TO YOU ALL!!
“The truth is, I probably don’t want to be too happy or content, ’cause then what? I actually like the quest, the search. That’s the fun. The more lost you are, the more you have to look forward to. What do you know? I’m having a great time and I don’t even know it.”-Ally McBeal
I have complete control over my Tv show queue. I don’t care that everyone loves House of Cards; I don’t want to watch it, so I’m not going to.I can hog the covers without feeling guilty. I only take up about 30% of the space in the bed, but I use 70% of the blankets.
I can—and often do—say yes to anything I want to.
I only have to “check in” on I don’t have to tell someone where I am, when I got there, or when I’m going to leave. I don’t have to say good morning, and I don’t need to say good night.
I’ve explored places and people and possibilities in my home town (..and other cities too) that I wouldn’t have if I had a boyfriend. And you know what they say—you only end up regretting the things you don’t do.
I’ve had the time and energy to dedicate to meeting and making girlfriends. Which is much harder, and often more valuable, than finding a boyfriend.
Comfort zone? Who needs it!
Two words: free drinks.
And then I felt sad because I realized that once people are broken in certain ways, they can’t ever be fixed, and this is something nobody ever tells you when you are young and it never fails to surprise you as you grow older as you see the people in your life break one by one. You wonder when your turn is going to be, or if it’s already happened.
-Douglas Coupland, Life After God
“Once your thoughts reflect what you genuinely want to be, the appropriate emotions and the consequent behavior will flow automatically.”