The past is never too far, hidden but not forgotten.

Isn’t it an ugly thing when you realise that the past isn’t so distant. All those demons you thought you dealt with and let go, only to realise you never actually did let them go. You just painted over them and hoped they would go away and never revisit you. You fooled yourself and started to live your life again walking through it all blindly. But old ghosts do come back to life. They are timeless and they are waiting in the wings when something triggers your past while creating your present. Unfortunately, I’ve been having my fair share of shocks this past year, pretty much all of them ugly and uninvited. But who said the battle was easy or pain-free? Not for the faint-hearted indeed and certainly a few broken bones and sliced flesh. Well I feel it viscerally and it hits me deep, opening roughly papered over wounds; wounds that never had a chance to heal because I ignored it all and buried my head in the ground. It wasn’t intentional at all, it was just my immediate and only reaction at the time. It is how I deal with problems. Not a very good way indeed, but the only way my brain saw since the memories were too visual, too traumatic and too horrible to relive. But I am forcing myself to feel the pain and relive it, because it’s the only way I’ve realised to move forward and actually learn from it this time properly. You cannot prevent or control other people’s actions. You can only control how you react to something.

I’m going to start with a short story. Six years ago, I was sexually assaulted by my uncle. I wasn’t raped, but I was assaulted and touched inappropriately. It happened on two separate occasions and the only thing I could do at the time was freeze in disbelief. When someone you have trusted for your whole life does something so unspeakable, in my mind I could do nothing. I had no power despite my brain screaming, because the truth is, I didn’t understand how this could be happening. Only the second time was I really sure that the first time actually happened. I hadn’t just conjured it up in my mind. This probably doesn’t make sense, but I have realised that we live in a world where not all women have a voice. We have been taught subconsciously perhaps to smile, to look pretty and to stay silent. The latter is what I did. I stood still and silent, my body on fire and my mind in a state of pure confusion and naivety. He said to me that I am a loving and kind child. I didn’t know if he still thought I was a child. I didn’t have counselling, but I did tell my family and friends. My mother was furious at what her brother had done, so she turned him out. No-one wanted him not because of what happened since that remained a secret, but just because he was old and a burden. He died 2 years later. I remember the last time I saw him a year before he passed away. I held him at arms length and I kissed his cheek tentatively memories of the past still on my mind yet knowing it wouldn’t be long till he would die. In that moment, the hate subsided and all I felt was pure pity. Later, news of his death did not affect me. I was not sad, nor was I happy. I felt nothing but anger.

After that event though, I subconsciously isolated myself. I wanted a boyfriend and yet I didn’t. I didn’t want to be touched. Not by anyone and not by any man. Not long after I was assaulted again on a night bus on the way home after a night out. I was drunk, trying my best not to sleep so I wouldn’t miss the stop, I was simply sprawled on the seats. I was touched inappropriately again. I was drunk, but I still knew what was going on. I just couldn’t scream no or react this time because I was too drunk. I tried to slap his hand away but it was so weak. My mind was completely rational, but my body was paralysed by alcohol and extreme exhaustion.

Bad choices, bad decisions, young, inexperience, naivety and self-blame. I took responsibility for my actions. But again, my skin crawled. No amount of washing that day could clean me. I felt violated and completely out of control yet again. Many women have this experience and people blame them saying it’s your own fault. But that’s simply not fair. There are always two sides to a coin.

I am not sure when it began but from a moment in time, I closed myself off completely. My trust for all men went out the window. I am always weary of men. Especially the ones who tell me how beautiful and kind I am. Some people take advanatge of kindness, but does it mean I should stop being kind? I don’t think so. But I also know that being kind and saying no is equally important. Some men don’t understand no. They can’t believe no. How many times do I have to say no? Why won’t a firm no suffice?

So what triggered my thoughts?

I went on a solo trip and at the end of my trip when I travelled with one of the host members back to the main city as he was going the same place, he started to confess his ‘feelings’. He’s married with a child. He was meant to visit his child. It got awkward. It got strange and he used the words ‘special’, ‘kind’ and countless other crap I’ve heard. I don’t say that to boast, as if I’ve had many experiences. I have many negative ones so I am weary of the words. I say it because it is bullshit. The lines “Why don’t you have a boyfriend, you’re so kind and fun.” are said too many times that I know when it is not genuine or when alarm bells ring warning of interest. He insisted then that he wanted to drive me home which was a 3 hour drive. I politely refused. Said it was too kind but no thank you. He persisted and I firmly insisted I was fine. I didn’t need a lift, I was happy with the coach. It became uncomfortable. Still he insisted and still I declined. It was too far, and he admitted it wasn’t kind, it was only for me this special attention. How many times must I say no? I said it 5 times. Still before I left he said, “If you change your mind, tell me.” I ended up running as soon as I got out the car. It sounds dramatic, I was late meeting a friend and still he tried to stall for time. I was fearful because I thought he might follow me. He was so persistent, it was almost scary. So I fled as soon as I could. As soon as I got out, that was my first instinct. I think it’s important to follow instincts. I felt shit afterwards. I felt dirty. I felt like there was something wrong with me. I don’t believe there is, but I couldn’t help the feelings of disgust.

I don’t believe he would have hurt me. I think he was trying to be kind. I think things got out of control because he became inappropriate. But this time I was firm. I was clear. I spoke up and still he didn’t listen. People only hear what they want to hear, but they don’t really listen. I don’t trust men. I don’t trust persistent people when I refuse an offer. I have a few male friends and off course I can’t blame all men and wouldn’t want to. I do believe there are some good guys out there. But I don’t always trust the good ones either. I have a big problem with trust. I have a lot of open wounds. But I am trying to learn and fight back.

No means no. It never means yes.

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What does it mean to be in the unknown?

Today I am struggling with quite an interesting topic but which I would like to reflect objectively but will also try to keep a positive reflection on it. I am grappling with many ideas after reading a psychic reading and not because I am convinced that I want to find out what my future holds and pay $80 because I am unconvinced. Although a lot of what was written seemed to be true- I did not necessarily view my life as completely negative though I can be negative sometimes. But mostly I try to be optimistic. I am not materialistic and I do not care much for money except to have enough to enjoy a good life. I don’t need fancy phones or fancy gadgets. I just want happiness but obviously happiness is not a continuous state. It is constantly in flux.

What struck me about the psychic reading was that the woman was trying to convince me to buy her services and let her help me. The examples she used of not knowing what the future holds and how we must not walk in darkness really hit me. That is how I live my life- I take each day as it comes. I don’t expect anything to happen. I just live. But is that wrong? She makes it sound wrong. It reminded me of my brother who always said “what are you going to do with your life? You can’t keep walking around waiting for something to hit you.” Life is not like that. But the thing is I continue to walk in the unknown- I continue to wait for something to hit me in the face. The psychic gave an interesting example about a series of doors and how if we knew what was behind the doors we would avoid the bad and stick to the good. We wouldn’t just pick random doors in the hope of catching the good. Its not right to walk into the unknown unprepared. But truthfully I find it more exciting. You never know what could happen and you never have expectations. I mean how can you know what is the best choice until you make a choice! It is so easy for someone to say you should plan and prepare yourself. Well yes you should for quite a few things but life is unplanned.

I don’t know if life is planned. I don’t know if I believe completely in destiny. Saying that I suppose I contradict myself when I say that I believe that “Everything happens for a reason” because I truly do believe that. So perhaps then there is such a thing as destiny and a planned life. Though I would not consider myself a hard determinist nor would I consider myself a libertarianist because I do not believe we have complete freedom to act. Our choices are limited sometimes by external factors. For example if I wake up in the morning and I want pancakes- I can’t have pancakes if I have no eggs or flour. In that sense I am limited to act. Though one may argue I have the choice despite that and I have the choice to go out and buy eggs. But then I don’t have that choice if I am in a rush and I am restricted by time constraints. I consider myself a soft determinist because honestly that is the one that seems to make the most sense to me. We do have some freedom though it is limited. We have some control though some things are out of our control. It is like the example Hobbes gave about a flowing stream of water that is constrained to flow one way which is downwards- it cannot flow up, however it can flow in different directions downwards. It is limited by not being able to flow up, but is still has some choice to flow freely downwards. This is the same with life- we do have some control over the present and what we choose to do. I could potentially quit my job but I may not want to. I could go on holiday if I have the funds, but I am scared. Things such as external factors limit us and that may be fear, time, money, people etc. We have no control over death- not really. We can’t control our death- though some may argue that we could- we can choose when we want to die by choosing to kill ourselves. But not really. We don’t know what fate or destiny has in store for us. We don’t know how the future will pan out and it would be great to know but it would also be pretty crap.

How can we learn from our mistakes when we already know what they will be? Yes I walk in the darkness and I have no idea where my life is going. I find it hard to climb out the rut and my future is completely unknown because I have no idea what will happen tomorrow. But I can’t control that and I can’t change that because plans change. You may think you have a plan but it all changes because of circumstance.

I would love to pick the right doors and avoid the evil, hurt and pain. But that is simply to easy. The game is never easy! People always say “Oh if only I had known better!” “If only I did that instead of this…” But the thing is how could you know? You made a decision based on the evidence you were presented with or based on your feelings. You made that choice so when you make your bed you have to lie in it. You can only become wise by learning.

No one can protect me from the unknown. No one can tell me what the future holds. I mean psychics probably could and I could heed your warning and even if they are telling the truth I am making a choice right there and then. Some people would call me foolish to follow the psychic and some might say I was right if everything turned out well. I won’t blame anyone for my mistakes except me because I made them. I won’t heed your warning because even though I am completely afraid of the unknown, it is the best thing I have right now. Surprise me.

Life never forgets to surprise you! It happens more than once! The psychic tells me I will be happy for 6 months and I must sign up to find out more- but I don’t want happiness for 6 months! I want happiness for life! 🙂 But most of all I need to learn by myself and make my own mistakes. I need to exercise the right amount of caution. But I need to be positive.

So I ask you what does it mean to be in the unknown? Does it mean to be lost? Am I lost now? Maybe. I don’t know but somehow I’ll find my way out the darkness. There has to be a light and there will be a light. Life might just throw something in your way!

The Fear

This post is about things I have been experiencing lately which seem to be hindering me. Mainly it is my past which keeps me shackled in chains desperately trying to escape the painful memories of the past few months. It doesn’t help that facebook is there to remind me of the evidence, the people and the experiences. Fear is however a massive factor in life which prevents us from doing the things we really want to do, i.e try a new experience, get a job in a completely different country, shop in a certain place due to the bad reputation or even the fear of going on a date/meeting with someone because of what may happen. In life we all face many challenges, but I mostly seem to run away from them giving excuses as to why I can’t or don’t want to do something.

The fear of failure so what’s the point in trying because without trying I can guarantee I won’t fail! But that’s a stupid way of thinking and the truth is everyone fails at something at some point in their life. I keep running away from most things in my life because I am scared. I won’t willing walk into a bad neighbourhood unless I have to because I am scared I’ll be attacked or surrounded by a gang. But this is silly because you can be attacked anywhere! I know this but I am still wary. I won’t work abroad because I will know absolutely no one and I will be completely by myself. But I have already conquered this and it did not end so well. I ended up hating the American camp experience. It is different I suppose if you are working abroad with more freedom in a different environment. I won’t find a job because I am scared I’ll be rejected. This is also silly because if you don’t try you will never know what could have been yours! I won’t go on a date because I am scared it will all go wrong. What can I say I am just a very cautious person. I don’t want to get hurt like my friends. Only a date though right so its harmless? Well I have no idea! I’ve been on 1 or 2 dates before and they’ve never really been successful because either we start a debate and I get angry at the guys answers or the guy just doesn’t call me back.

Last night I had a nightmarish dream where I was on a date with this guy I liked whom I met but hardly know. So we are not really friends as we don’t know much about each other but anyway we are at this cafe just talking and then suddenly he stands up and his accent changes- he starts to talk funny in a different accent which surprises me and then he stands up and moves to the side. I start to lose sight of him and so I lean closer round the corner to look at him and he hugs me. Instantly I feel repelled inside. I want to run because I don’t like this closeness and even though I’m attracted to him I am scared and somehow can’t seem to connect with guys any closer than friends. I wake up and I realise that I am far too scared or maybe I am not ready for this kind of thing whatever it is. But I am 21 and I’ve never had a boyfriend. I can go abroad and live alone, I can do so many other things but somehow I can’t seem to get close to people who want to have a relationship with me. Don’t get me wrong I have a lot of close friends- most of whom are girls- though a few guy friends.

I am in love with an idea (as are all girls I believe). The idea of falling in love and meeting Prince Charming. The idea of having a blissful relationship but the truth is there is no such thing as Prince Charming and I shouldn’t expect so much from the guy. I see happy couples and people getting engaged and I want that just like anyone out there. I don’t want to be alone. But somehow I hold back- guys ask me out and I say no. I just can’t seem to get over it. I AM TERRIFIED! I am just scared of what life has to offer. But I shouldn’t be and I have no idea why I am scared. This guy well he’s real and he asked to meet up again now that I am back from America. I don’t know what to do. Obviously I will meet up with him, but I am scared because I don’t know what he wants and normally I make it very clear what I am looking for. Maybe it is because I like him so much I want things to work out but at the same time I don’t know what kind of guy he is- I don’t know if he is a player, if he is looking for something serious or casual or whatever. I know what I want I think. But fear always gets in the way. I can easily jump out of a plane no worries. I can go rock climbing and all that and I can risk my life in some dangerous activity but when it comes to dating and all that I just can’t seem to commit. I just can’t seem to go further and I feel repulsed in a way to be touched by someone I hardly know. I know that one little date hardly gives them permission to touch me, but after a while if we become closer then there is reason to.

There’s just too much that time cannot erase. There is so much that holds us back (well holds me back at least). Some people may not understand because I sure don’t understand myself. But then we are complex being and no one is the same. I hope that I can discover what I want in life and I hope I can get rid of these fears because they all sound stupid! But psychology and life experiences sometimes dictate your feelings which in turn dictate the outcome. Life’s not fair. But I will try, but sometimes you just can’t help the fear.