There is an advert on UK television at the moment where the news anchor Trevor Mcdonald says that ‘we are defined by what we have seen’. But are we?
In my opinion no, we aren’t, it would be impossible to be.
Of course what we have seen has some impact on us and this may vary depending on what it is (I have watched many a scary movie but I am pretty sure I am not defined by it!) but what we have experienced has much more impact on our lives whether it defines us per se is really down to the individual and their response to that experience which could be positive or negative.
We all experience good times and bad times in life and these will be things we have witnessed as well as things we do, think, emotions we have or something that might happen to us or those around us.
From the outside things can look normal, and I am not talking about a physiological ‘normal’ but a general life ‘normal’. People may seem happy, relationships may seem watertight but it doesn’t mean they are. Our perception and reality can be two very different things. If we were only defined by what we saw our understanding would be therefore be incomplete.
Life isn’t easy and whilst for many it may seem so it is all relative depending on what is important to you personally. I have experienced some really amazing times but I have experienced some really shit times too as have most of us, because sadly that is life.
Before I started this blog many people particularly in my work life didn’t know about MRKH they would never have guessed something like this had happened to me because their perception was that I was a fun, confident, outgoing, sociable person that was never bothered by anything – whilst I can be all of those things I am certainly not them all of the time – do you know how exhausting that would be?
I may not be very good at being sad (really quite terrible at it) but I do get sad. I have been through low times in my life such as seeing my brother going through endless hospital trips after a terrible accident when he was 6, said goodbye to friends and family gone too soon, supported friends whose parents had gone too soon, seen my Dad become unwell with an auto immune condition, loved…and lost and oh yeah hit by a metaphorical bus at 17 and trying to deal with the associated turmoil that generates.
This isn’t meant to be a pity parade of the selected ‘low lights’ of my life but more to highlight that what we perceive about someone or something isn’t always the full story. On the flip side I have seen my best friends marry, had the joy of having so many special little people in my life, buying my own home, travelled to some incredible places. Have a loving family which I am proud to be a part of and been recognized for my work and personal achievements, so it’s really not all bad in fact in many respects I am lucky to have a number of those things.
People have always known what I have wanted them to know about me, which clearly is a lot more now as I have sought to raise awareness so openly for MRKH. But beyond that there are very few people that truly know me, those people know who they are and they also know that they are the only ones who can truly read me and understand that sometimes when I say I’m ok that I am not and also that when I set my mind to something I will get on and do it regardless. So to be only defined by what we see or perceive wouldn’t ever give us the whole picture.
Whilst MRKH has been a massive part of my life I am not defined by it because if I was it would be far too overbearing, all consuming, and quite frankly truly upsetting place. Sadly I do know people that have sunk into this trap as they try and struggle with the mind jumble that it can generate – which is understandable but I learnt early on it will never make you happy. Of course the way it impacts you will vary from person to person and will change over time, for me it has changed the way I think about things.
The experience of living with it every day goes some way to impacting how I behave and react but also that behavior has changed as I have grown up and have been more or less impacted by different parts of the condition at different stages of my life. But overall I have become more accepting of it and that has lead me to be able to be more open. I have come to terms with it and over the years other things I have experienced have put it into perspective. That is not easy in itself and for everyone will be different if they are even ever able to get to that place.
There are lots of things that I wish were different and I could sit here and reel them off but it doesn’t change anything. If I sat and dwelled on my MRKH then I would never be happy, that I do know. For the most part I can’t change the massive elephant in the room so I have to live with it and be realistic (and it’s a ruddy big elephant and I only have a small flat) focusing on what I can control in life and not on what I can’t.
Clearly I am taking a very well-meaning advertisement out of context from the general message it was trying to portray however I found it thought provoking. Our characters, the way we are, the way we behave comes from so many factors; nature, nurture and life experience no one factor in my opinion can drive that definition any more so than another.
Life isn’t perfect, it can’t ever be, we are designed to seek happiness but happiness for me may be different from the person next to me, there is no conveyor belt that would suit all.
I don’t know how or if I would have been different without MRKH or anything else that has happened over the years all I know is that my experiences and life does have an impact in terms of how we adapt but defining us is a different story. By being your own person you have the power to define yourself whether influenced just by what you have seen or perhaps the things that you may have experienced.
Taking some time to reflect on you personally, without the comparisons that we inevitably do to others, is really important to provide perspective
Don’t judge a book by its cover 🙂