Firstly, I’d like to thank everyone who read or commented on last week’s Thoughts for Friday post. I’ll admit that I was unsure of the response it would receive but I’ve been overwhelmed at how positive and encouraging you all were towards me. Please know that your support has been a major factor in being able to turn my life around, so I thank you all – sincerely.
I guess choosing the above quote for this week’s post seems rather ironic considering that I’ve spent the last few weeks extolling the virtues of not being a prisoner to one’s own past, and yet here I am choosing a quote that speaks of returning to such things. I guess what I can say is that, whereas before I had been firmly stuck in my prison, I’ve now found the courage and confidence to at least get to the doorway of the damn thing that’s held me hostage for most of my life.
For me, this quote rings true because I tend to use writing as a way of working through some of the things that have held me back in the past. Though I am often socially awkward and uncomfortable in the presence of people my own age, when writing I feel myself come alive. Like a butterfly unfurling its wings for the first time, I find a sense of freedom and liberation in creating a fictional world of my own.
Writing also helps me to lay a few ghosts to rest as far as my past is concerned. Though I may be writing a character who has nothing to do with me, I find myself creating these people based on my own thoughts, emotions and experiences. I like to make my characters complex, to discover their motivations and desires, to find out exactly what it is that makes them tick. I do this as a way of trying to make sense of the motivations of some of the people around me, trying to figure out why they behave in the way they did/do.
In order to do that I have to return to some of the less pleasant times in my life, times when I now realise that I was treated in a way that no child should ever have to suffer. I’ve been left with a number of scars that will likely never heal, but through the process of storytelling, perhaps I can go back and attempt to ascertain the motivations of people that I now view as monsters.
I guess the ironic thing about being a victim of abuse is that you never realise you are a victim until it’s too late. Knowing no different, you believe that the way you were treated by the person or people who were meant to love is normal. If I could go back and tell my childhood self what I know now as an adult, maybe I could have imbued myself with the confidence to face my demons before now. Maybe if I’d had just one person looking out for me, protecting me, maybe things would have turned out differently.
The cold, hard truth of the matter is that I can’t, but I can keep returning to the threshold of that prison, reminding myself from where I started to where I stand now. When my faith and courage falters, I can stand on the precipice and look down on the darkened tunnel of my past, reminding myself that there is light above and beyond – all I have to do is lift my head to see it.
I have a story to tell, my only hope is that another person who perhaps is in the position that I once was will read it and know that there is always a glimmer of hope ahead and often when you least expect it. No matter how hard the road we travel is, we have to remember that there is always hope for a better day, a better way, a better world, that there are better people out there that you’re yet to meet.
More than that, we need to be better – to be kinder – to ourselves. We deserve that much at least.