We all have our layers, our protective barriers. For some, it's cynicism or paranoia. Others deflect with jokes or smiles. Whatever your manner of coping, it's often a gradually developed persona chosen to fit the company or the conversation.
And then sometimes, for whatever reason be it word choice, timing or mood, somebody says a thing that pierces straight through your shields as if they weren't even there. In an instant it all crumbles away and you're left shaken, humbled to realize that the self-image you'd constructed, knowingly or not, was inaccurate. That maybe while your coping methods kept you sane and likable, it also warped your self-perception in ultimately harmful ways. That maybe others have seen you're a better person than you ever allowed yourself to recognize.
It's freakin' SCARY.
And then, eventually, you recover. Time passes, familiar habits return, you try to carry on as usual. You say you won't forget what happened, how you felt and what it means, that things will be different... but you've said that before. You know you always forget with the distancing of time.
Unless, y'know, you write it down.
Someplace you'll see it every so often.
So you don't forget.
(special thanks to =N and FP, and well wishes to you all)