We can all paint a pretty picture – the image we portray to the world and a beautiful portrait depicting laughter and joy which thankfully hide the scars we’ve accumulated over a lifetime. Large and small, they are masses of distorted emotions left behind from wounds afflicted on us so deep that some will never recover.
I think my first scars appeared quite young and was surprised to learn from my cousins that I was excluded from their pass times – the baby and too small to participate in whatever they were doing. “We were really mean to you!” said my cousin, Joanne. I don’t remember this but it may explain a few things such as my desire to create my community support initiative, Ro On The Go. The title says it all!
I acquired a few more scars later in childhood and in my teens. In grade 7 I was the only person in school not invited to a party because I was Italian – along with another girl who had developmental disabilities. Fast forward several years where I was constantly referred to as ‘anchor nose’ and ‘wop’ and of course not one boy through high school liked me because of my ethnicity…and the verbal jabs across the lunchroom table didn’t help attract boys either, even if most were in jest. No, Romina Jelmini was definitely not girlfriend material and you’d better stay away…unless you wanted to be the butt end of the joke yourself.
Yes, I’ve been scared deeply and although a nose job could never remedy the pain, I miraculously survived my teens! Suddenly in my twenties, with my heritage now somehow irrelevant to the opposite sex, I blossomed and as a result reacted by becoming a not-so-nice girlfriend while leaving a few broken hearts behind me. It was self-preservation until my husband came along and refused to give up.
You can keep the wounds open, feeling a lifetime of pain while taking your anguish out on the world – or you can heal and wear your scars which I have done by working for an Italian Canadian magazine and supporting my community. Yes, wounds continue to afflict me even today – friends who have hurt or let me down as well as being used to accommodate others’ agendas. These things happen to all of us and are a part of life. So know that when you look in the mirror the scars will never go away but remember that you are ultimately spirit and the love or hate that has fueled it over a lifetime. Choose grace and realize your endurance and strength to continue living with loving intention will be your greatest legacy…YOU ARE A SURVIVOR!