Tree’s were magical places, that you not only climbed but captained your ship into the sunset. Clouds held the weight of the gods, their shape giving way to how they felt. Lightning was Zeus striking down on those who had broken their oath to honour their values. Pixies danced across the flowering meadows. Trolls lived in the storm water drains, and dragons were everywhere to fight.
I loved everything about my life before I was six. It only dawned on me recently in silent meditation what that niggling tingle in the right side of my heart was trying to tell me, “you lost me at six” it said.
Most of My Life
I think for most of my life I have been trying to regain what I had before my world changed. Before I was sent off to school, and forced to sit still for hours each day behind a wooden desk. Before being rapped over the knuckles with a wooden ruler for fidgeting. Before I realised what my Mother had done to me wasn’t normal. Before I buried those memories of abuse for most of my life.
I wasn’t like the other kids. I was abnormal to what was considered the norm. I believed in magic, in awe, often finding myself in the rapture of flow for hours at a time. I would zone out, and float away into an imaginary world that always felt more real, more free, and comforting than what was supposedly how reality was meant to be.
I just didn’t fit in. And it showed. I had no friends in kindergarten. I was teased constantly for seeing the world differently to everyone else. I even jumped the wall, walked the several miles home at five years old, just to escape the walls of the kindergarten pressing in on my chest. It felt like I was dying.
Once I was in 1st grade at age six, I was faced with the mean teachers, bullies, and gangs in my school — coupled with the relentless teasing that, “look not even your father wanted you!”
I never knew my Dad, not a single thing about him, it was never discussed. All I knew was that I likely had a half brother somewhere out there. That secret escaped in a drunken rage between my Mother and my Gran, when my Gran shouted out: “you gave up the first one, why did you keep this one?” I took the rest of the conversation as my Gran saying my Mom’s first child that she gave up likely for adoption was with another man, other than my father.
My Mother was never shy to remind me that I was her biggest mistake. She never once told me she loved me, I never got a hug, and the only attention coming my way was the abuse that she seemed to revel in.
In the years to follow I shut myself off from the world as most people know it. I hardened the fuck up as they say. I learned to use my fists not only as a way to gain respect, but to vent all my anger out on someone else, other than myself. And while I never self harmed myself, at fourteen taking my own life was never far from my mind. I just wanted the pain to end.
As they say environment informs behaviour, and it did exactly that to me. I lost what I loved about myself at six, and for the next forty years I have been trying to get that ‘me’ back – while only realising lately that this was what I have been looking for all along.
Lately I have been thinking about what inspired this breakthrough?
Especially over the past year, I have done a lot of personal inner work applying a combination of depth psychology, acceptance and commitment therapy — along with my personal mindfulness practice. My realisation has been that, the experience of allowing what ever arises without judgement is one the most powerful vehicles to open yourself up to what has been hidden.
I have had to be courages too. I have had to open up more (this blog is part of this), show vulnerability, and acceptance of my past. I have entered into deep conversations with people, realising that their struggles are not so different from my own. I have engaged in loving kindness meditation, something that I still find awkward to practice. It hasn’t been easy. But it has been necessary!
I am not sure where all this will lead. Will I ever rediscover my what I believe to be my true self, my true nature that I experienced before all the shit went downhill at six? Maybe, maybe not — but I remain hopeful that what will emerge, is something that inspires me to live my life to the fullest, while empowering other to do the same.
For the first time in my life, the thought of service feels more right than protecting my own fragile ego. It’s time to heal. The journey continues!