woman beside tree

For Those Who Are Still Struggling To Heal From Past Wounds

If you’ve managed to make it out of this life completely unscathed, then you’re probably not living loudly enough. The thing about trauma is that although it puts us in a seemingly inescapable chokehold, it also has the power to sculpt our souls into something beautiful.

When I think of all the works of art I cherish most, they always seem to birth from a spirit that’s in mourning. Amy Winehouse wouldn’t have had much of a career if it weren’t for her drawing from personal experiences with depression, addiction, and heartbreak. Van Gogh also found ways to channel his heartbreak and unrequited love into magnificent masterpieces. I wonder if our most beloved artists, singers, poets, and authors would be known today if it weren’t for their tender histories.

I’ve interacted with a rare breed of individuals who’ve managed to escape hardship for the majority of their lives and I always get the impression that they’re missing some key ingredient, like baking chocolate chip cookies without any salt. You may not think salt is a necessary ingredient on its own, but without it, the flavors of the cookies would be completely flat. The human soul is similar in that pain builds character, it adds flavor.

Healing is not and never should be an upwards diagonal. It should zig-zag, dip, and plateau from time to time. If it didn’t, I’d almost suspect you weren’t really healing. Real healing should be messy, and contrary to popular belief, healing isn’t a destination. You’re going to have some days when you have the wingspan of an eagle and some when you don’t feel much like taking flight at all. It’s not only normal, it’s expected. I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who’s experienced a wound deep enough to feel its pain for years to come without receiving some sort of scar to remember it by. Some people think healing means erasing that scar, but to erase that scar would also mean to forget all the lessons stitched into it.

Trust me when I say that you want to keep that scar. You want to remember all that you’ve survived that made you who you are today. That’s not to say that you should wallow in that pain or permit it to define you. It’s just to say that chances are, it took a lot of strength and courage to overcome all that you did, and that’s not something to take lightly. It’s something to love even deeper within yourself.

If you’re the sort of person who doesn’t feel like you’re healing at all, trust that you are. Trust in the process. Every day you are evolving, whether or not you realize it. Though it is unlikely you will one day be deemed eternally healed, you will continue to have good days and not so good days. You will keep getting up and surviving one sunrise at a time. You will find support when your own bravery starts to falter and you’ll help others to do the same. Because even though our scars may look different, we all feel pain in a strangely similar way.

Trust that your soul is expanding. Trust that you’re not alone. And trust that the parts of yourself you find the most difficult to look at are actually the most beautiful.

Fluent storyteller, memoirist and lover of prose poetry

Keep up with Valerie on Instagram and oldsoulsearching.com