Being wounded, I suspect, is a required step along the journey of being human. I can’t think of anyone I know who wasn’t traumatized, abused or separated from others in some way, big or small. Wounding comes with the terrain of living.

For the decades that I was in denial about or numb to my own wounding, I was an active participant in the wounding of others. Unconsciously of course. Maybe I still am.

You know how we automatically say “hi, how are you” to strangers on the street (unless we don’t), sometimes our deep, intimate relationships carry an automatic, unconscious “hi, let me wound you” arrangement to them. The mom, dad, sibling, lover relationships. The deep ones.

Until we can mature enough to own and heal our own wounds, it’s only natural to be unconsciously wounding others. It doesn’t matter how old you are, how much money you’ve got or even if you are president. Being wounded and wounding are, I observe, intrinsic to the human experience.

This is neither good nor bad, right nor wrong. It just comes with the territory called planet earth.

I’ve reached the point where I can mostly see my own wounds, much of the time, and when I am in the process of wounding. Doesn’t mean I don’t live there and do it often, but I have developed enough awareness to where I now get to choose it instead of it choosing me. Or at least I can see it while I am in it.

I could judge that my wounds are bigger or smaller than others. But relative size is irrelevant.

I’ve entered a newer realm within which, slowly, my wounds are no longer wounds but rites of initiation like a tattoo. They are mine. “Who dunnit” is mostly irrelevant (except when I’m deep back into it.)

I would say that I’ve been lucky in that my own tattoos appear to have been easier experiences than what other people go through. Lucky me there. But my tattoos are real to me.

More and more, I can hold my tattoos as necessary steps in the journey to me being who I am and where I am now.

I am not broken. I am whole, complete and beautiful as I am even with these tattoos. There was never anything wrong with me. This is the way it turned out. This is the way I turned out.

And I love that.