There is a lot of pain in the world. You do not have to look very far to find someone in some kind of pain. That is a sad, sad fact. It is all around us, constantly. In order to balance the negativity I like to spread joy and love to those I meet. I take my portion of love, joy and happiness each morning when I awaken. They are my antidote to the misery and pain in this world. But these emotional vitamins that I absorb each day do not deaden me to the harsh reality around me. In fact, they heighten my ability to see the difference.
I do not like pain. I do not like to either personally experience or to watch other people experience pain. It is because of this fragility of being that my mother used to call me “paper skin” when I was a child.
Coming from a large family there were always some kind of knocks and bruises with all the sibling games – some were, in the way of children, really cruel. There were also the reprimands from my parents; they were in a totally different league. After a few serious bouts of childhood discipline – for my siblings, and on occasion my own – I decided never to repeat those experiences. When I was the direct recipient of discipline or rough play I wore the bruises for days and I really didn’t like it.
I was explaining my reasoning and my experiences to my son the other day after he said to me that I cry or express sadness even when somebody I don’t know is hurt.
As I finished retelling a short story about a part of my life where I decided to avoid pain I concluded “Maybe it’s not just that I have a paper skin as my mother used to say, maybe it’s also that I have a paper heart – any pressure causes it to crumple, even if the pain is not directed at me.”
I have the misfortune to break bones that have failed to heal properly and as such I realise that I have both paper skin and bones of crystal. It is, however, my heart that aches the most from the hurt that we continually do to one another. In all my experience (now that makes me sound really old!) I have found that sharing love is always a better option than inflicting pain. But, maybe that’s just me ... and my crumpled paper heart speaking.