I was starting to wonder why my old ghosts were haunting me so vividly recently but this morning I realised why. March is just around the corner and with that comes the memories of March 2006. That month brought me to my knees as my whole world as I knew it completely changed. When I think back to that month I just remember feeling so fucking lonely. I remember moving house too much to escape the terrors that followed us. I remember sitting on the edge of a rock on a hill near my house with nothing to accompany me except a pen and notebook. I remember being lonely all of the damn time back then. One of the biggest problems I had was my own feelings towards reaching out for help. I felt so bad for reaching out to others that I started to hate myself for doing it. I felt like a heavy burden despite reassurances on the contrary. I self harmed and got drunk because it was easier. Even after I had my list of emergency contacts and after many counselling sessions I still turned to unsafe coping methods. Why? Does that mean I didn’t heal or that I fucked up?
I still believe that my list of contacts and all of the amazing people who dedicated so much of their precious time to me were my saving grace. Without them I could have been so much worse, so much more self destructive. I told myself that I had moved on enough to cope without talking to anyone but in reality I had simply gotten better at hiding my thoughts and ignoring what’s happening right inside of me.
I really want to be different. I want to the type of person that doesn’t spend so much time climbing up a steep and painful hill just to go tumbling back down it. Scars should heal and never be ripped open again, they shouldn’t part to reveal such darkness. I hoped that one day I would just be okay and like it had never happened. That day may never come but I think I’m okay with that. This is just me. “Okay” is my “good”.
Child sexual abuse is still such a taboo but I can’t help but want to talk about it. I’m 23 years old this year and I am also nine years free from abuse. When I say I am nine years free from abuse I am not including the years I spent battling for justice through the Irish legal system. Nine years really isn’t that long in a way and it’s easy to forget that I was gripped by controlling and disgusting men for the majority of my life. Surviving those nine years involved a lot of coping mechanisms, I’m going to tell you about my list in this post.
When I was younger, maybe about sixteen years old, I made a list of people to contact if and when I needed to. Some of the names on the list were of people who I could really trust and others were good to have a laugh with. I felt lucky to have so many people to call upon. I felt like I had a safety net in place with so many people happy to help me but now that list is so much smaller yet that doesn’t make me feel like I’m alone. It actually gives me independence to stand alone when the world is weighing me down, strength to stand tall despite all else and wisdom to see that just because someone does not remain in your life permanently does not mean that they should be crossed off of your list.
That list got me through some difficult times. No, difficult isn’t the right word actually. It got me through the moments when my little world was spinning out of my control, when I was carrying on like the walls I built weren’t crumbling around me and like I wasn’t ready to just give up on everything. That list was once my lifeline and just because the list is smaller it doesn’t mean that it is now something I no longer appreciate. My list was one of my safer ways of coping. I must tell you all that the people on this list didn’t actually know they were on the list or even that such a list existed and probably don’t know how much of an impact they had on my life. People put me in hell but other people helped me to find my way back.
I would happily encourage people to trust others most of the time but my own personal issues prevent me from following this advice. I always want to and hope to see the good in others and I try so hard to find it. Everyone has some good in them, right?
My greatest struggle is to be able to trust others knowing they will one day walk away. Knowing they could become a stranger or worse still betray you. I hate the fact that I could pour so much trust into someone just to have it all taken for granted or abused. It takes a lot to trust someone and sometimes so little for them to forget that.
On the flip side, life’s too short to spend so much time and energy keeping yourself hidden away. I guess there’s pieces of yourself that are worth hiding and others that aren’t worth the effort of hiding. It’s an amazing release sometimes to just have a rant, let loose and share your thoughts so is it really so harmful? That is my personal trust debate anyway…
There’s no denying that we live in a very money driven world. In every shop there’s dozens of items for sale that we really don’t need yet are constantly bought anyway. On every sale day there’s people fighting for the best price for more and more items. I’m guilty of buying unnecessary items too of course. I’m sure we all are. Recently however I had a thought that I really disliked. I actually got sad that I didn’t have more money. I got annoyed that so many items are so difficult to afford and that coping financially isn’t easy for me. Maybe I was having these feelings because of the commercialism of the festive season or maybe it was just niggling at me anyway but I definitely didn’t like being annoyed
about something which is technically so fickle. I have a roof over my head, enough clothes and enough food so isn’t that good enough?
I always try to operate under the rule of “A bargain isn’t a bargain unless you are going to use it” but sometimes I mess up in the heat of the moment. I see something, it fits and feels good on and then I realise that I don’t need another t shirt or when am I even going to wear this shirt anyway? I found myself thinking a few months back that I needed a pair of shoes ‘in case I ever need them’. What? If I need them I’ll get them then, simple. We are constantly being bombarded by ads telling us we need the latest technology and the newest clothes. No, you don’t. Buy whatever you really want and if that happens to be the latest technology then great, off you go, but if not then save yourself some money and stick to what you have because if you’re aiming to keep up with the latest trends then you’ll eventually start to feel like you’re just going around in circles. My best advice to you on this issue is to just try not to let money bring you down. Don’t allow yourself to feel bad about something that doesn’t really matter at the end of the day.
Spend more time with those you love doing what you love and I’m sure you’ll feel way better than you did chasing items you think you’ll love.
Take care guys,
Yesterday they walked together hand in hand as they took their touches for granted. The town is alive with a hive of activity. It’s occupants seem to be too busy to notice. They don’t see the interlocked fingers as sweaty palms embrace. Their gaze does not include the love before them. The open declaration inspires little in it’s wake.
Today I too walked the same crowded streets as I weaved between those too busy to take a breath. Today was different. Right now I am the main attraction as I hold on tightly to her hand. Too many stares penetrated my space. I can suddenly relate to that goldfish confined to such a small bowl, a centrepiece to feast your eyes upon. Foul language and volatile behaviour rain down upon as we continue our nervous march. We exchange a look and silently agree. We will not let go.
Tomorrow will be better. Tomorrow equality will welcome us as we march in a proud parade. Our colours will shine as we are given a guard of honour by supporters, children and animals alike. We will march as one to the beat of the same drum as we leave behind our reality to pretend we too can act like them. Tomorrow we will get a taste of what the future might be as we mingle safely in our numbers. Tomorrow I can be me. I can be me safely without judgement, fear or risk. I shall consider that day to be the greatest sample of freedom I could ever be given.
For this I just wrote without structure and allowed the words to flow. Here’s the result…
Jane strolled aimlessly along the lonely pathway. The murky water of the river beside her was still as the midday sun reflected in its centre. The chatter of the town was distant which only served to make her feel more alone. She sighed as she stopped to lower herself slowly to the ground. The dry earth appeared to be moving somehow as nature’s creatures marched in unison on their important mission. Jane allowed her mind to wander for a moment. She giggled to herself as she tried to imagine what these little ants were thinking of her. She pictured a small gang of them all gathered together equipped with miniature army helmets and ready to defend their families. They were ready for battle so why wasn’t she? A swan came into view as it drifted gracefully around the corner. Despite being cloaked in solitude this swan held its head high, confident in its own skin. Once this stunning creature was almost close enough to reach out to, Jane began to smile as she noticed it’s arrogance. Dipping in amd out of the water excitedly while still ignoring it’s audience. The swan made her think. She should be capable also of creating her own waves and following her own path. Inspired, she leapt to her feet ready for action. Action was exactly what she was going to get too. For too long she, unlike the swan, was consumed by the judgement of others and the interference she dealt with because she couldn’t find her voice. With her sights and her heart set on her future she could now not only speak out but roar in the face of adversity. If she was going to protect a whole country she must first start by guarding her hopes and her dreams. They were fragile too. She was scheduled to leave next week. She was about to be cast into the relative unknown far away from anything that resembles home yet she knew it was the right thing to do. She was going to make a difference and leave her mark. She, like the brave ants, was ready to be a defender.
It’s difficult to keep throwing out blog posts but especially when you are your own worst critic. I’m critical of myself and my own work to the point of just being downright harsh. Right now however I’m putting those feelings aside in an attempt to reconnect with you all.
What’s been happening for me? I gained two new qualifications and completed two creative writing courses so I’m leaving 2014 feeling accomplished and proud of myself. I set goals for myself and was lucky enough to fulfill my own wishes. The resolution to do this came during the Summer so I also learned that not every great resolution starts on January 1st.
I was foolish enough to think that items were going to make me happy. Then I figured that people might make me happy. Now I get it. I really genuinely get it. I was already happy just the way I was/am without being surrounded by people who drag me down or make me feel bad about myself. I enjoy owning certain items but that enjoyment could never compare to the happiness I feel in the company of my wife. I once wished that I’d be surrounded by a dozen people I could call my friends but when I actually had this I was more miserable than ever. Moral of this story: I don’t need to follow a recipe to make me happy and I certainly won’t find this happiness in others. Luckily, I found it in myself. If you find yourself thinking that having loads of people in your life will make you happy then think again because it may not be as simple as that. I’m looking forward to the future but I’ve started planning it rather than hoping for good things to happen. I’m loving taking control over my journey.