It is hard not to lead with our wounds. We all have them. Some are personal. Some are from childhood. Many are cultural. Every day we step out into the world and the wounds are bumped and beaten and reinforced. We open them ourselves because we become fond of them and we don’t want to be silent about them, so we show them off and use them to form our identities.

It isn’t healthy to remain silent about the things that hurt us. But it also isn’t healthy to become these things. How do we avoid it? How do we lead with what is right about us? How do we reclaim gentleness and softness and love in the face of so much disaster? How do we reclaim gentleness and softness and love in a world that is so wounded?

I don’t know the answers. I only know the questions. And I know I must make a choice many times a day. Do I lead with my wounds or do I lead with what’s healed and sweet about me? If I feel shaky over speaking up about something, is it because I shouldn’t have spoken up, or because I’ve been trained, as a female, not to speak up? And when someone lashes out at me because they disagree with what I am saying, is that because of a wound they carry and nurse, or is it something I need to look at? And when is speaking up smart, and when is it dumb? Am I seeing injustice where there is none and not seeing it where it exists?

I feel unmoored. I feel hurt because I’ve been hurt. I’ve been hurt on social media. I’ve been hurt privately. I’ve been hurt as a child. I’ve been hurt as an adult. Usually these wounds stay closed, not because I am closed, but because I am well. But I feel less well these days. I feel that we are all clawing at each other, that we’ve reached a level of anger that we cannot sustain. I don’t want to be a part of this, but I don’t want to stick my head in the sand and pretend everything’s groovy either. Everything is not groovy. Things are broken. Things are so broken that I cannot write this without crying.

I have no wrap-up to this blog post. I have no snappy ending. I have no wisdom. I have no conclusions of what all this means to an artist, to a writer, to anyone. I don’t like leading with my wounds. I don’t like adding my little noise to the cacophony. If I were an animal I would crawl into the woods to be alone. I would lick my wounds. If I were an animal I would shy away from the things that hurt me. If I were an animal I would also snarl and snap, but only for survival. How much of what we are doing is about survival? And how much is about loving our wounds more than we love each other?

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10 Responses to Wounded

  1. This is beautiful, Nancy. And helpful to me in my own little world. I live with my 100-year-old mother. My sister and I took her for a walk in her beloved woods yesterday. In spite of being all but completely blind, she did it, on her legs. She asked about the plants (by scientific name, and of course we were clueless). But every morning, every afternoon, every evening—with me and with everyone she meets—she leads with her wounds. I haven’t really had the words for it until you gave them to me. I have called it negativity, and been afraid I would become like her, I listen to so much of it. You have given me a new understanding. I don’t know how to use it yet, but I feel like I have a new tool in my belt. Thank you.

    • Nancy says:

      Hi Gretchen – Thank you for sharing this with me. I wish my husband could take a woods walk with your mother (it’s impressive (and not wounded) that she wants the woods and to know names of plants). He is a gardener and naturalist and could have probably filled her soul with Latin names and genus/species talk. It is good that she wants these things. And good that you took her to the woods. I send you my prayers and blessings. Nancy

  2. Ruth Knox says:

    I’m blown away because it’s like you went into the recesses of my heart and soul and picked out all the feelings and ideas that I had tucked away there. I tucked them away because I didn’t know what to do with them, because they had no answers, because each one brought forth yet another question. Another one I could not answer. And crazy questions too, questions like, how did I end up on this warring planet? What is my place here? What can I learn? What can I teach? How can we become more whole, individually and collectively? How can we heal our way through this, or learn to live better, give better, with our fragments?

    • Nancy says:

      Hi Ruth – I am feeling very burdened by the state of the world right now, and I find myself contributing to the chaos – and then, as an alternate way of being, I find myself being very quiet and not contributing at all unless it’s something benign. I just had to post something about my dilemma, and how I see so many of us attached to our pain and accusing others of things because of it. Sometimes there is something valid in the accusations, and sometimes it is just knee-jerk. I don’t know how to be anymore, but I do know that friends like you and our communication and connection are important to me, and I am sure important to shifting the energy to a better place. big hugs! Nancy

  3. Joanne Corey says:

    Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability in sharing this. I have re-blogged it and shared on my facebook. I wish I had more of a response, but I am feeling this in my heart, also.

  4. Kitty Lynn says:

    I think about this post often and find that it still haunts me almost a year later. I wrote a long response to it. I was motivated by the words that poured from your heart, because I feel that outpouring too from all over. More often, I feel helpless to make the world better. Friends tell me that they too want too quit their jobs to rally for the environment, for social justice, for inclusion and for peace. Really being here is a balance of pain and healing. Thank you for all your writing.

    • Nancy says:

      Thank you for this, Kitty. I too am having trouble. It is so hard. If it makes you feel any better, your comment on this year-old blog post made me go back and read said blog post – and see my own words, see that nothing’s changed inside me, although things are worse outside me. Surely there is something to be said for steady in this world. Sending peaceful vibes. Thank you again.

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