Looking Past Appearances

My friend Ronda sent me Melody Ross’s brave and endearing post “We Must See Past What It Seems” on the Brave Girls Club website.  You must read it.  [Scroll over the title in the first sentence.  The link is there.]

It’s all about hurtful experiences…how we all have them…and how we treat others when they’re going through their dark night.  How life might be easier if we wore signs around our necks—“I just lost my job” or “Please be gentle with me…I’m doing my best.”

Suffice it to say, the post brought tears to my eyes.  Only because I could relate.

And I’m thinking you might be able to, too.

What a lovely reminder for a Saturday morning.  How can we listen or reach out to one hurting person today?  And if it’s you who needs consoling rather than someone else, please confide in someone—to be heard, to be loved.

[Post image: Sad girl on steps by hortongrou on stock.xchng]


  1. Angie Cox
    Oct 01, 2011

    The fight-or-flight (stress) response is a very interesting one. Once a person gets caught up in it, so many things happen in the body. Not only do the muscles tighten up to prepare to flee or hit, the brain downshifts and hands over control to the cerebellum until the threat is “released”. Since we have so much stress in our lives that rarely gets to be released by fleeing the cheetah or fighting the bully, we often see people who are stuck in that cerebellum control. No rational thought gets to occur here. No processing of new learning happens. No creative, high order thinking can occur. Everything that is said or done by others tends to be filtered through the lens of “is this a threat?”, and people get stuck in state of defensive paranoia unable to consider an off-handed comment as just an off-handed comment. It’s a viscous cycle that has so many consequences. I see it daily in my new career field. It is so interesting to watch personalities change over the course of a 60-90 minute time period in which they feel safe and loved. Yes, signs around our necks would certainly help.

    • Elissa
      Oct 01, 2011

      The signs would at least slow down the other’s possible attack or quick judgment, don’t you think?

      So heartbreaking that we’re all responsible for such behavior as this—that quick judgment of the other, without knowing his or her story.

  2. clare
    Oct 01, 2011

    My beautiful friend undergoing chemo therapy for breast cancer decided not to wear her wig and instead flaunted her bald head as the sign around her neck. She has been overwhelmed by the affect it has had on everyone she meets. People exclaim how beautiful she is. Others ask if they can hug her, and others who are suffering chemo under the anonymity of wigs thank her for enabling them to talk about their own plight.

    • Elissa
      Oct 02, 2011

      What a wonderful example of this. Thanks, Clare! I’ve often wondered what I would do in the same situation, and I think I might go bald, too. xo

  3. Don Rogers
    Oct 02, 2011

    If only we could read the signs that are not there……..

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The quote I live by

Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.
--Rainer Maria Rilke in Letters to a Young Poet

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