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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This is me! Self-discovery alas….

So today I am writing about self-confidence and personal freedom. Last week I did something I wouldn’t usually do- I saw an offer to take up yogapilates and I grabbed it and decided to go for it. What do I have to lose right? So I was meant to go last Thursday but the timetable was changed and instead they gave me a free class of Pilates on Saturday! I wasn’t nervous and I feel like I have turned over a new leaf. No in fact I feel like I have rediscovered myself- the person I used to be- someone who had little fear and would just go for things! It made me realise that I do a lot of things by myself and I am not afraid to do it. I am independent! I don’t need a friend, boyfriend or parent to hold my hand and take me to the class. I noticed a lot of people brought friends, boyfriends or someone they knew with them to the class and I felt proud of myself that I could do things by myself. It also made me think back to all the things I have been doing by myself. It made me reflect about all those times I did things alone- the time when I was in my 2nd year of university and I wanted to join a club so I decided to join the University Club- I knew no one but I was not afraid, I travelled in the night alone (I was crazy travelling late at night in the darkness trying to find this climbing wall!) I am reckless sometimes, but I don’t feel alone! A presence is out there and I believe it to be God! Others may call it something else but this isn’t about belief- this is about taking chances. Anyway like I was saying I met new people but the point is I started it alone.

I decided to work in America for 2.5 months and then travel for another 2 months! I really don’t think things through but I am spontaneous! I don’t plan, well I do but not meticulously! I went to America naive thinking everything will be fine without little preparation and boy did I get the shock of my life! But again I reiterate I did it alone! I was not afraid to travel alone, to meet new people. It was a great experience looking back. I have been concentrating too much on the negative and now looking back I think of the positive. I am not afraid to jump into the deep end and that is something I have been overlooking for some time! I may be slow sometimes, act silly, say stupid things and talk like a baby around family but I am 21! I like to live and learn. I like experiencing new things. I like being a kid around my family and messing about. I don’t want to always be serious. Sometimes I ask stupid questions without thinking, so sue me!?!

I have no one to travel with and I would love to travel but I have always been forced to do things by myself because no one wants to join me! I ask friends if they want to go on holiday and they say yes but nothing ever comes from it. I search and then I realise they are not serious about it! I say I want to join a dance club and they agree but again if it doesn’t meet their schedule or it is just an idea then we can’t do it. I can’t dance very well and my co-ordination but I don’t care I am willing to try which is one of the most important things! Don’t kick me out because I suck- at least I am trying which is more than most people can say! (Not that I have been kicked out! 😉 I’m just saying!) The difference with me is when I have an idea I like to follow through with it! I am not one of those people who sit there dreaming- well actually I am but I also take action too! In my first year I told a friend I want more and I want to be more adventurous and join the climbing club; he laughed. Two years later I met him again and he told me that he did not actually think I would follow through because they were just dreams! But I will if I want something.

Some people may think I lead a lonely life and maybe I kind of do- I have no husband, boyfriend, but I do have friends and they don’t cling to me, nor do I cling to them. I don’t need anyone to do something I want to do and that feels great because I can just do it!!!! I can’t express the feeling but it feels like true freedom! I looked around when I went to this Pilates class and realised I am here by myself and I don’t care. I know no-one but again I don’t care. I am here to exercise and meet new people and have fun. It was a great class! you can really work out a sweat! Anyway the main thing is that if you are alone it doesn’t matter because you can do whatever you want! What’s there to be afraid of? I am re-discovering myself and day by day I feel like I am growing in confidence! This is my chance to shine- I just hope I make the most of all the opportunities that come my way! NO MORE REGRETS! I am strong and I can do anything I want! I am happy in that knowledge because I know I have come so far! 🙂

What if? If only life offered a total do-over!

Ever had the inclination to totally redo your life. To take different paths- do things differently. It’s a bit worrying that I have these sentiments at such a young age. It’s also a bit worrying that I am having a mid life crisis and I am not even 45! I’m 21, I’ve finished University just come back from my travels and just a little bit lost! Okay well not a little A LOT! I have no idea in which direction my life is going, no idea where to go and what to do. You could say my life is at a crossroads- do I get off my lazy butt and start trying to looks for jobs and apply or do I continue my lazy life waiting till something hits me over the head and draw me into some amazing new life with a great job and exciting opportunities.

Thinking about it now I had some uber cool opportunities at uni- the choice to do loads of work experience (while I did some there were perks to being a student!), the choice to study abroad- that’s a real disappointment! I would have liked to have done that but then I wouldn’t have discovered rock climbing and met so many cool people through the club- I wouldn’t have been appointed Treasurer of the club and I would have not had the opportunities I had at that time. Alternatively I could have been lying on a beach in Malta or trying to converse in French in Belgium!

Though the “what ifs” stretch a lot farther to school days- what if I had been more prepared and organised the two week work experience to France, what if I actually followed my interests and did what I wanted to do! What do I even actually want to do? I don’t know! I didn’t know then and I don’t know now! I am still as lost as I was four years ago when I decided what course I would be doing! What if I chose different universities, what if I could have done better? So many what ifs, so many thoughts of what my life could have been like. I would be a different person perhaps I am not sure- I’m quite stubborn and not very susceptible to change as a person though I do crave change in life.

I like it when I go somewhere different. I like travelling to different places as well as to the same countries- thats great too but I prefer discovering new things. I like trying different kinds of food. I think I would like change in a job- trying different companies or even trying my hand at different types of jobs. Because the truth is I don’t think I would be satisfied in just one job. I don’t think I’ll ever be satisfied with life- because I crave change and I am sure it is pretty much the same for a lot of people out there. The world is no longer the same place where people would stay in their jobs for 10 or 20 years. Well that’s what I’ve read, so I am just going on what’s being said.

If I could I would take the chance to have a do-over! A repeat of my life it would be so good! But then again thinking about it logically completely redoing things in the past sounds a little boring because let’s face it I have past that point in life. I’ve past the point where I want to go back to studying in school- past the point of just doing work. I don’t think I am past the point of wanting to be a kid because being a child was amazing! I could do what I want- there was this kind of innocence- no responsibilities, no care in the world! Just fun and games, but then again I kind of like some responsibilities. I am a kid at heart and I had a wonderful childhood! I was in no hurry to grow up fast like a lot of kids do nowadays. Today, children are much more mature, much more aware. When I was a child I was not very aware of things- I was carefree and happy! I would love to go back to that innocence! The good old days, but then again my life is at that point where I am at the crossroads.

I’m stuck in limbo not really doing anything, not making a choice, not really living because I am just so bored! Is it possible to be bored with life so soon? Or perhaps I am just bored of the now- I need constant energy and drive to keep myself busy. To stop me from thinking because let’s be honest thinking is a dangerous thing. It can frustrate you and make you nit pick about everything! I think that’s just it! I’ve been thinking too much and it’s time to get busy again. Carry on with life but you can’t just pick up where you left off 4 months ago. Why? because everything is different now and I hate that. I hate the memories that torture me, I hate the life I’ve become where I wake up try to find a job, or go out to visit a friend and then go to bed late. I hate the person who I discovered I really am over my travels. I hate me and that is just not a good thing to discover. Meeting with my friends makes me realise how I never get a word in- I just listen- I don’t talk. But that’s ok I like it when others talk non-stop because it fills the silence. I can’t talk for Britain that’s for sure. But then it makes me think I don’t like who I am anymore.

Everyone is moving on with their life. They are moving forward, getting jobs, going back to university, learning, training, travelling and there is me falling behind unsure what to do. Unsure of myself and my life but craving something to give me that burst of confidence. I just need that hope. That is the problem when people you love die, they leave behind a whole series of unpredictable events which can affect you in the most subtle ways possible. Living in a house with negative and sad energy can definitely affect your mood and the shadow of their life left behind leaves you wanting to run and make sure that you don’t make the same mistakes and you don’t feel half as lonely as they did. It’s a race against time to escape my thoughts, my fears and just jump! Like I did out the plane when I went skydiving- one of the best experiences of my life.

Well it’s time for a change! It’s time to make that choice now. Time to make the plunge and hope not to hit nothingness. A total do over is out of the question- no such thing! I can’t let myself keep regretting. It’s time to act, so must go try now! Wish me luck!