I never knew the sting of a contemptuous stare until I had to stand in line at DJFS to resubmit my paperwork for the voucher for daycare so I could finish college.
I never knew the frustration of wanting to defend myself to those people because I was getting government help until I had to pretend to hold my head high as I walked past them and heard their not so subtle comments about the teenage mother.
I never knew that fake tattoos only stay on a child's cheek forever if you have pictures scheduled until I had to scrub one off of a pissed off child.
I never knew the struggle of infertility until I lost pregnancy after pregnancy.
I never knew that there would be women jealous that I could even *get* pregnant until I lost pregnancy after pregnancy.
I never knew the knife that twisted in your heart as a bereaved parent until I had to pick up the remains of a dead child from the crematory.
I never knew the soul crushing weight of depression until the day I did not want to get out of bed.
I never knew the hurt of losing a pet until I had to bury a dog.
I never knew that alcohol was not, in fact, the answer until I woke up the next day with a splitting headache and vague memories of what (and who) I *think* I had done the night before.
I never knew the stats about sexual abuse were so under reported that they are practically useless because they do not show the true story until I started to hear the victim's stories.
I never knew that people with schizophrenia DO want to work until I saw it be done.
I never knew that it was so hard to be poor until I was actually poor myself and had to figure out how to feed my child.
I never knew that yes, it is important to get regular oil changes until I blew up the motor.
I never knew that the parents who's child is screaming in the aisles at the grocery store may not be lazy, worthless, abusive parents of said child but may have a special needs child. Or a difficult child. Or a child who is simply having a really bad day.
I never knew that children had so much personality until I started to work with them.
I never knew that I would be judged on the quality of my womanhood if I had my uterus removed, until I had it removed.
I never knew that the food I was eating was slowly killing me until I lost, then gained back, weight.
I never knew the extent that men feel entitled to women's bodies and the extent to which they feel free to comment, stare, and then be pissed when they don't get what they feel entitled to, until I lost a bunch of weight.
I never knew the price often exacted from our servicemen and women until I had family members have to pay that price.
I never knew the agony of sleepless nights worrying about money until I had to rob Peter to pay Paul who was robbed last month to pay Samuel...
I never knew how much I judged others until I realized how much I in turn was judged by others, despite feeling that I had no reason to be judged.
And...I never fully understood the idea of not judging other's battles until your hands are clean until I was judged, found lacking, and then realized that their hands were just as dirty as mine.