This World is Not Perfect and You Are Part of Why

This World is Not Perfect and You Are Part of Why

Dear You,

You probably don’t know this about me, but I struggle with anxiety. Sure, you see that I’m a nervous person, but most of the time my anxiety is invisible, and when it is visible you laughingly say I am “freaking out over nothing.” You write me off. 

I get it. You don’t know me. 

I am certain of this because I have seen you use “triggered” as synonymous with “irritated” or even “offended.” This is because you don’t like to dwell on the negative. You don’t like to see that this world is an unequal place full of hurt and recovery. Despite your own hurt and recovery. You think people who feel triggered just…shouldn’t. 

Maybe you experienced trauma but it didn’t stick to you like tar and feathers. You were able to shrug it off and move on so you think everyone should. Just another blip on the radar. 

Or maybe you stuffed it down because it’s ugly, and life works better for you when you keep it’s parts in separate compartments. I get that, too.

What you should know is life does not work that way for me. Not because I’m over-reactive or because I haven’t tried to box things up, but because I am an individual with a brain that looks different–IS different–than yours.

Do you know what neurotypical means? To be that is a privilege I was not granted. For whatever reason –nature or nurture–I process and retain experiences off the beaten path (despite how beaten popular linguistics makes that path seem). I am wholly me. 

It’s actually wonderful even if it does tire you that I raise my voice to seek equality. That I self-advocate by requesting a heads up so I can best engage my self care while still stretching my mind to receive and understand experiences outside my comfortable wheelhouse. Like rape scenes in short stories or visceral movie violence. Like your mocking exchanges on social media about what it’s taken me so long to recognize about myself: that I am quickly hurt and often offended. That I am a person with different needs which are not bad. Because were I not different, your world would be a monochrome bubble within which you would accomplish only self-aggrandizement until even you grew bored of yourself.

This world turns on variety. I am variety.

Dear You, I beg you to reconsider the term “trigger.” To check your own privilege so you can broaden your mind. To expand your world view outside of what you want to be real into what is real. You could make a difference. You could be more. You could be a positive force in this world instead of a vapid, negligent critic of a culture you either are afraid of engaging or too lazy to understand. 

This world is not perfect and you are part of why.

I hope this reaches you where you are on your mushroom pedestal in Alice’s woods. I hope you come back through the mirror so you can see more  than your own reflection. I hope you see me and how I am not you and how I love you but also how I hate you because you only cater to you. You are selfish and false and not the positive force you imagine yourself to be. You are the pin that holds me to fabric and prevents me from flying freely. From healing. From the possibility of ending my triggers. 

You are deadly. And it is inconvenient for you to do so, but I wish you would sit up and care. After all, I am saying you are powerful. You. 

You could be more.

You could change this wilted world. 

Instead of dismissing the harder truths, you could grow. You could support.

You. You could be an ally. 

I would welcome you. 



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Shawna Ayoub Ainslie

Shawna Ayoub Ainslie is a mental wellness advocate and writing coach in Bloomington, IN. She teaches writing through trauma for release and recovery to survivors and veterans through the Center for Creative Writing, Ivy Tech Community College, and Survive Your Story. Shawna is also The Relationship Blogger's Editor-in-Chief.

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