by Melissa Geissinger
Fighting the Urge to Fade Into the Background
When you've been through some really hard shit, it's really really easy to want to put on some camouflage and fade into the background. And by all means, if you are still in survival mode, allow yourself that time. I needed it. A lot of it. I didn't want to be in the spotlight anymore and I stopped interacting on social media. I stopped asking friends to come over and keep me company.
But there comes a time where you need to choose survival over surrender. That's kind of the overarching theme of everything that I write.
Be Proud to be a Survivor
Survival is not a fluke, it's a choice. (Being a victim is different than being a survivor.) It can be manifested in little things, or big things. Here are three examples of how I chose to claim the survivor title and embrace the new me.
I needed a new pair of glasses. I went to the glasses shop and hovered in front of my old reliable pair of rectangular monochrome frames, same as I've always had. I ended up choosing frames that had bright blue and purple on the sides. Something that would draw attention to my creative side and entice people that like bright colors to want to talk to me.
It doesn't seem that crazy, but for me it was a bold move, and I'm glad I made it. Even just the simple act of putting on my glasses in the morning can you give me a spark of life that carries me throughout the day. I'm not hiding anymore.
Now I'm not saying go out and buy a new car just because. I needed one anyway, something safe and reliable to shuttle my little bugger around. But when it came down to picking a gray RAV-4 and almost the same exact car but in electric blue, I bet you can guess which one I picked.
I've only ever had two cars. Both Subarus, and pretty run of the mill (white and gray, nothing flashy). But my new car, oh my goodness, she is gorgeous.
I get into her (her name is Te Kā, which I realize in retrospect would have been more fitting if she was red) and I immediately feel way cooler than I am. I might even drive a little bit faster, but you didn't hear that from me.
My point is, I don't mind being noticed more for my super adorable wheels. I might even feel a little bit hot driving her.
I didn't used to have any tattoos at all! Then after going through the year from hell, I decided I needed to bookmark the event and celebrate having survived such an experience by getting a bold statement piece that would be a part of me forever.
You can read more about my tattoo story soon, but basically it is a tree that despite being partially burned out, stands strong and grows into a nebula that represents new life. I love getting stopped and asked about my ink. It's so cool!
Out of the fire, or any trauma for that matter, comes rebirth and the opportunity - or dare I say necessity to reinvent ourselves. Be who you want to be.
Take the time you need to just be okay, but when you're ready to admit you are a survivor, don't be afraid to shout it from the mountain tops.