Today I want to talk about sugar glass.
Remember that stuff? It’s the fake windows they use in movies so they can break through it without real cuts and bruises (those are added by the makeup artists later).
When it shatters, sugar glass can’t be put back together. It also doesn’t take much force to break it; if you leave it long enough, it’ll start to erode on its own. It isn’t stable.
There was a time where I felt like I was made of sugar glass.
I felt absolutely fragile every time I left the house. The wrong look, the wrong move, or even the wrong well-meant touch and I knew I would crumble into a million shards.
My shrink dubbed it “urban caution.” (I didn’t really like him that much.)
My best friend told me to snap out of it. (We didn’t stay friends much longer.)
My family didn’t know what to do. (I didn’t and don’t blame them in the least.)
Dealing with emotional, physical, or mental trauma can be exhausting in and of itself.
Now add a victim mentality on top of anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Not sure what I mean? It goes a little something like this:
“I’ll never be normal again.”
“Why do these things keep happening to me?”
“I need medication to function and be normal.”
“What’s wrong with me?”
“I can’t help feeling this way.”
There is nothing wrong with these phrases. However…the frequency of them can feel like a pity party to people on the outside who don’t see the day in, day out of what is going on – or sometimes, even if they do. To me, they felt like an endless cycle I didn’t know how to break out of.
Eventually, the roller coaster of emotions found a new track instead of circling the same one.
I don’t have a pat answer to why I stopped feeling fragile – but it certainly wasn’t overnight.
It involved a hard road, there’s no way around that. Sitting through court. Rebuilding trust among my friends. Culling friends I didn’t trust. Patience with everyday tasks. Allowing myself the grace to backslide. Moving forward with my dreams and a new life. Hours of counseling and therapy.
In essence, I stopped letting my experiences define me.
I am so much more than a victim of this event or that person. I am a vibrant, loving, smart, pretty woman who has been through some shitty times, but has not just moved past them, but above them.
Once upon a time, I felt like sugar glass.
Today, I feel like I’m made of titanium-reinforced crystal. I’m rock solid, but also transparent, and I don’t break easy. What I’ve been through does not make me a victim – it makes me a survivor.
When someone around me goes through these things, my heart breaks.
I don’t want to see that pain in your eyes, the words you aren’t saying, and the racing thoughts I know are there. I want to be a comfort, a safe place, and a mentor to you. The people that were all those things to me didn’t know what I was going through, but they did their best anyway.
Even if our experiences have been different, I want to be there for you.