I have always loved quotes about women who had really difficult struggles in their lives and came out on the other side stronger. Women who were admired because "they wear their pain like stilettos"; women you watch in awe from afar as they fight their dragons single-handedly without tears and without fear. I wanted to be a woman like that - I still do.
Fearless, courageous, and bold.
I've had several opportunities for surviving and fighting through pain and I'll admit, there were some moments I thought, "This is it. This is my moment where I can fight and win and someone will look at me and be inspired to go on."
But as I was in the middle of the fight or even on the edge of winning (by the grace of God alone - but that's a post for a different day), I realized that no one even realized I was waging war. No one looked at my family and realized that we were struggling. No one understood that life was chaos and it was a battle just to get up every morning. No one knew the wars won, wars fought, wars continuing as we spoke. No one was encouraged or inspired by my fight because no one saw.
I didn't blame them - most people go about their daily lives and only the people very close to me even knew the war had existed, much less still existed.
I wasn't angry. I was disappointed. I was sad that my opportunity to "wear my pain like stilettos" wasn't all it was cracked up to be. No one thought I was brave or strong. No one was proud of me for it.
Coming to terms with the fact that some battles are fought in secret has been a challenge for my pride. It's still a challenge sometimes, when I walk around smiling and talking to people and I want them to realize I'm doing it even though my heart is splitting inside my chest.
But they don't have to recognize the fight, failures, or successes in order for my battles to be valid. They are still important. I am still a warrior. I am still a survivor even if no one knows what I've survived.
I am still here.
I am still fighting.
And that is what is important.