Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Check your baggage at the door please.

Once bitten you´re left with the teeth marks as permanent scars. If two lions get into a fight and one takes a big fat bite off the other´s leg, the bitten lion will carry the battle wound with him until the day he dies. If two antelope happen to cross horns and somehow one horn happens to poke an eye out, the unlucky antelope will be blind in one eye for the rest of his days. Most inflicted wounds tend to somehow leave some sort of a handicap or scar behind.

As humans, we´re no exception to mortality. The tiny scar on my left eye will forever remind me of a car accident I had on my third birthday. Even though it´s barely noticeable, anyone who takes a good look will see the scar that landmarks a page in my history. Not everyone carries physical scars but everyone carries battlewounds that are invisible to the outside world. The emotional kind. These kind of wounds have no measure to how deep they can go or how long they take to heal. Perhaps the most frustrating part is that no two wounds are alike and no two people react the same way. A little boy who teases girls at school by calling them fat might cause temporary waterworks and sulking in one girl or the begining of compulsory eating disorders in another. What should scare you is that you never really know just how much you´re hurting somebody.

My inspiration for the column came from a conversation that lasted into the early hours of the morning not too long ago. I was told a story about a girl who had the sad fate of dating one of life´s losers. Her boyfriend, or so we shall call him... possessed her as if she was a disposable object. From isolating her from her friends, criticising her every move to using profanity with her, these was no form of abuse unused in this relationship. She survived his behaviour in the name of love but even bears wake up from hibernation and eventually she found the courage to escape this abusive relationship. Not too long after her life changed from a nightmare to a fairytale, she found a good man that took care of her, treated her like a princess and showed her the power of love and tenderness.

Once you´ve been bitten by a dog you can have one of the three following responses:
1. You run every time you see a dog
2. You kick every dog that comes your way or
3. You fight your fear and learn to love dogs again.

The sad reality is that option 3 is the least chosen. Our girl couldn´t handle the pressure of both the harassing ex-boyfriend or the overload of love from the new one. She chose to kick every dog she saw and run before they managed to get up and defend themselves. That leaves the good man wounded and also left with one of the three options above. He paid for the pain inflicted onto her by her ex. She kicked him with the same abusiveness she´d been treated to and ran before he had the chance to ask her for his heart back.

At this moment the pain is too fresh to predict his reaction. His pain throws him from one extreme to another. First he feels the urge to run away from the world and himself, wishing that when closing his eyes his sleep would be eternal. In the next second the rebellious side of him surfaces and he decides to use every other woman just as he felt that his love had been used and abused. Deep down he still holds the hope of finding true love but in the midst of his inner war, hope is a light very faint in the near future.

After getting constantly knocked down, most of us resign to stay down and not bother to get up again chosing either the first or second option above. Those insane enough to keep getting up will simply keep getting knocked down. The choice is his to make. Unfortunately emotional pain isn´t the kind you can share or easily repair. There is very little one can say to help pick up the pieces of a broken heart. As a friend all I could do was listen but I did remind my friend that in the animal kingdom, caterpillars metamorphosis into butterflies and that lizards that lose their tails grow a new one back in less than two weeks. Thanks to modern times, limbs are replaceable and almost nothing is irreparable. The point i´m trying to make is once the pain is gone you´re still left with chosing one of the above options.

After trying out all three options I personally find that i´m happier rolling with the punches but only because i´d rather love and lose than to not love at all. Whatever your decision is the next time life takes a big fat bite of your soul and shatters your heart...
1. If you decide to run, don´t steal someone´s heart to run off with
2. If you decide to get revenge, make sure it isn´t on a dog that doesn´t bark at you
3. and lastly, should you decide to stand again, make sure that you´re completely standing before you take another plunge.
Nobody should have to pay for another´s bad experiences. Should you love again, then make sure that you love with your whole heart... only then are you giving both yourself and your partner a fair chance!

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