If our pasts decide who we become, then give me a past worth growing from.
I don’t know about you, but I think damage is endearing. I value dark histories, growing pains and repressed memories. While a lot of people like to shy away from potential partners because they’ve survived damage and bad pasts, I embrace them.
We all leave the nest with a few dents and bruises. As Mitch Albom said, “Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair.”
No one comes out of life without a few scars, and even the cool kids have demons. But some people have faced challenges that have truly changed and damaged them in ways that aren’t fixed by 401ks and new apartments.
These people belong in a special class of “fucked up.” They’ve seen sh*t you’ll never know about. They’re rare people who have died and come back to life with brighter vision.
It’s like they’ve lived three times. They’ve felt the cold ground of rock bottom and danced with demons you wouldn’t want to meet. They’ve been both victim and victor. They’ve overcome trails and tribulations that have shaped them into stronger and more knowledgeable people. Because of this, they’re cool as sh*t.
I’m not trying to romanticize or generalize the hardships and abuse many have faced. I don’t want to condone f*cking people up in the pursuit of strong character, and I definitely don’t want to give the impression that all damaged people are the same. I’m just making an observation. And that observation is that some damaged people know how to embrace life better than the coddled rest of us.
People who have been through it all come out on the other side incredibly strong. They’ve been forced to grow up facing struggles their neighbors will never experience. They’re immune to life’s bumps and curves. But many are also humbled from their struggle. Under the hard shells they’ve grown over the years, they have a soft inner core and can empathize better than anyone.
They know what it’s like to struggle, and they also know what it’s like to love. They’re ready to throw themselves into everything that makes them feel good and happy. When you’ve been through the worst things in life, you make damn sure to appreciate the good parts.
They’ve already been to hell, so they aren’t scared of going back.
When you’ve already hit rock bottom, there’s no more fear of falling. Fear stems from our ideas about the unknown. When you’ve experienced the reality of every terrible situation, there’s no more wondering, guessing and worrying. Hitting the lowest point in your life is liberating; from there, there’s nowhere to go but up.
They can’t improve their pasts, so they’re always trying to seize the future.
When you’ve experienced the loss of control, you seize every chance to win it back. People who have witnessed horrors of their own life are always masters of their future. When you’ve had your control taken away, you know what it’s like to appreciate and fight for your freedom.
They don’t sweat the small stuff.
Until you’ve been truly sick, you can’t appreciate your health. People doesn’t appreciate being able to walk until they lose a leg. The same goes with those who have faced life’s biggest shit storms. When you’ve stood underneath the heaviest downpour, you stop noticing the drizzle. Damaged people have a perspective that comes only from some serious experience.
They know how to embrace life’s bumps and pitfalls.
People say that life doesn’t come with a manual. But if we were going to make one, I’d have the most damaged people lay out the escape routes. They know how to get through things. Unlike your prissy friends — whose worst day consists of a spilled coffee or missed plane — damaged people know how to handle real situations. If our skill set for life is based on experience, then the people with the most hardcore training are always going to have the best tools.
They have knowledge that can’t be learned.
Most people with some serious damage are like old souls who have already lived thousands of years. If Buddhists are correct in saying that each new life in the cycle of reincarnation is a step on the way to enlightenment, they’ve passed a few more stages than your average Joe. They’re the Buddhas of handling f*cked up situations and keeping things in perspective. They are like people who have traveled the world and become deep with knowledge and information. They’ve survived and persevered in ways some of us will never know.