“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
I try to read this to myself several times a week. It is difficult standing up for what you believe in when confrontation is your kryptonite. I find it invigorating to hold a discussion with someone I feel safe with, even if we have opposing views. It is more difficult to do so when you cannot predict someone else’s response. Will they put me down; will I be verbally abused; are they going to make me feel stupid? Social networking is a cesspool of trolls and angry folks ready to wield their cyber-courage at all costs. For me, this means that when I share a view online, I risk the chance of a differing opinion attacking me as opposed to engaging in healthy debate. The effect this has on me is weeks of reliving the words that are thrown at me, sometimes months, sometimes years. I could say nothing and go on posting funny pictures of goats in rain boots but then I feel fake. I want so badly to express myself, whether it be to support women’s rights or to speak out against the latest social injustice, but it is scary. Can I do it afraid? Yes I can.
You may have noticed that until recently, there was no name on these blog posts. I made every effort to hide my identity for self-preservation, but that is not “being in the arena.” That is hiding. I do not share this in shame or embarrassment. I was trying to protect myself which is totally understandable. I had to ease into this. So this is me, my name is Lisa. I have PTSD and am a sexual violence survivor. I have two teenage children and PTSD does not mean that I cannot be a good parent. I say that because sometimes I worry that I fall short. I have also heard parents say that they are afraid to seek counseling because they might lose their children. This makes me sad. It also frustrates me that the stigma of mental illness is so strong in our society. So strong that we avoid seeking help due to fear of judgement and condemnation. “My PTSD Life” is about me and issues that I have come across and dealt with as well as an admission of times I have come up short. This is who I am…
I want to be in the arena. I won’t do it to the point I sacrifice my mental or physical health but I want to “dare greatly.” I want to speak for those who have not found their voice yet and join in with them when they do. I take the chance of being attacked, but those who attack me (not disagree, attack) do not deserve my attention. They were never interested in my soul, more than likely just the increase in their “friend” numbers. I think it is important to remember that we control our cyber-world. I am free to post what I want, respond to what I want, befriend who I want, and delete them if need be. It is important to keep a personal meter on what is healthy and what is becoming overwhelming. I do take breaks at times, especially when the anger gets out of hand, and that is okay. We each can find our voice and the freedom to express ourselves in whatever avenue we so choose.
It is nice to finally meet you!
Much love and healing to you all.