The saying goes, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and I have been thinking about this a lot. It has been a rough week for a number of reasons but my mind kept coming back to this saying, we know it to be true of beauty but what about pain? What we see through our eyes, isn’t always what others may be seeing or feeling …………….
All around me the room is swaying, I feel sick to my stomach and Im shaking, violent shakes that take hold of my whole body. My teeth chatter so hard my jaw is smarting with the pain. One minute I feel like Im burning up, like fire runs in my veins, then in the next minute it turns to ice. I cant stand my legs are numb and I feel like Im being pricked all over by a thousand needles, my arms like lead in weight. My eyes are closed and there is distant screaming in my head. I try to slow my breathing, to gain some control but this only makes me more dizzy and more sick. The pain in my body is too much, throbbing, aching everywhere. Then my body gives in, it cant bear this torment anymore and I slide into the dark place where relief resides and for a while the world stops and although I can still hear the voices surrounding me, I cant respond. But the relief is temporary and then it starts again.
In my head I can hear those around me, “just breathe Emma, try not to think about it, let go and think about something positive”. “It’s just a panic attack, its not going to really hurt you”. “You just need to think about things differently”, its just your mind. Your causing this you can stop this if you really want to.
The words stab at me like a knife, because it has been said to me over and over. The doubt begins, the inner turmoil, the questioning myself. Why me, why cant I control it, why isn’t the breathing helping, Im trying to think differently its all I do every day, I know its my mind but its hurting my body too. Then the spiral starts, the spiral into the darkest reaches of my mind. Why am I so weak? Why cant I do this? Whats wrong with me, what am I doing wrong? Im worthless, a burden. Ive cursed those I love, made them deal with this poison that has seeped into everything in our lives. Im ashamed, embarrassed at myself. I open my eyes and look at my reflection in the mirror, the dark circles, and white, pale skin, lips dry and in my sunken eyes I see despair, like a wounded animal. I stare and will myself to get through this, to make it to daylight, to spare those I love this torment too and all I can mutter is Im sorry, over and over again because I truly am, sorry for those who love me, sorry for those who I look to for help and sorry for myself because I want to be free, I want it to end and I have no idea how to make that happen.
This week has hurt me, because things said in ignorance and through a lack of understanding has pierced my armour, and touched my heart. In the eyes of others, my beholder’s, there are simple things that they believe could have prevented me all the years of pain, the years of struggling, fighting, surviving, things that they believe had I have done differently, would have changed my path. In the eyes of my beholders if I could have just been a bit more mindful, stayed in the moment and focused, if I could just have reacted differently to the events that stripped me of the girl I was, if I could just of let go, moved on. Oh if only…….
But you see this is my nemesis, the chink in my armour because while in the eyes of my beholders they see it so clearly, so easy like a map to follow to cure my ill’s, I know that their vision is only what they see in their minds eye. Its not my reality, not my story, not my magic potion to lift the curse. You see, if it was that simple, that easy and true, then I would have embraced it and ran with it all the way to my happy ever after. I would not have sentenced myself to years of pain and suffering or those I love, if I truly could have let go and moved on. The truth is that the poison that runs through my veins is what holds on to me, that keeps me captive. I try to let go of it, but it will not let go of me. For it has altered my mind, put in it thoughts that I do not want, made me doubt my existence, my worth to this world. My beholders do not see this, they do not understand the damage it has wreaked. They do not see the fight I wage or the inner turmoil that threatens to consume. I did not choose how I reacted to the events that took hold of my life and changed it beyond all my hopes and dreams, but I reacted the only way I knew how, by trying to survive. So while some days I can rest in the moment, and appreciate all that is good and I can look at all that befell me and see it in the cold light of day while reminding myself that it wasn’t my fault and I am slowly winning, some days I just can not.
So I feel hurt, insulted that again I feel like I have failed, that I somehow haven’t been able to fix myself or that I still suffer. But then I remember it is not what they behold but what I see that matters, that I have come so far and achieved so much. I see those that behold me with love and seek to remind me of my worth. For they behold my pain but also my beauty and this is so precious to me, because it helps change the reflection that I see of myself.
Yes there is much in the eye of the beholder, whether it be beauty or pain. But that is just that the vision that you see, not the vision that others see and not always the true reflection of the one upon whom your gaze falls. To them the reality may be nothing you can possible imagine and maybe what they need is for you to look for a moment with their eyes and not be the beholder anymore, but see with eyes full of empathy and love.