I’ve been offered a new course at college – it’s called ‘Telling Your Story’. At first I was keen….I wanted my story to be one of finding some positives from so many negatives in my life. The idea behind the course is that I would look back on where I’ve been (mentally and emotionally), through various ages and stages of my life and then work out what helped me to move on from the darkest places (where I still find myself on bad days) to the better place that I am in now, in general that is. I’m not saying that all my worries and gremlins from the past have disappeared, far from it. They will always be there. My past will always be a big part of my life…my past will always be my past – it’s just that I don’t choose to live there on a permanent basis anymore. I am in good therapy and that is where I deal with any gremlins and Grinches when they do arise. I don’t want to carry them round with me like a great big sack of potatoes.
I’ve thought carefully about doing this course and have spoken to my college tutor about it at some length. There is something about it that I find strangely attractive and yet, if I am honest with myself and after speaking with my therapist today, I have found myself thinking, do I really want to drag that old pile of skeletons out of the closet again? Do I really want to dig through all that sh*t again? Is it worth risking how far I’ve come just to prove something to others and to myself? And…..I think the conclusion that I have come to is no. There is just too much at stake.
Having said that, there is something to be said for making a neat little (or large in my case) package from my not very neat life, ‘telling my story‘ and sharing my feelings. Equally, there is also something to be said for not recounting my story or doing anything with it for that matter, other than letting sleeping dogs lie.
However, I am still very affected by what happened to me, mostly as a child or as a direct result of that, and I still have awful memories, flashbacks, nightmares, thoughts, reminders, triggers that I’d obviously rather not have. But I am a human being and that is just reality. Then, on talking with my Support Worker, we struck upon the idea of a black memory box. Sound strange?! It did to me at first but then the more I thought about it, the more things I thought of that I’d like to box up and put in there.
Things like the first book I had published which I dedicated to my first therapist who turned out to be very dangerous and has since been ‘struck off’ the accredited list of counsellors in this country. I won’t go into detail about the content of this book other than to say it is morbid to the extreme. There are books and gifts she bought me at the time which are still kicking about my house. The song lyrics to REM’s ‘Everybody Hurts’ which I used to play over and over on repeat which just drove me further into my despair. A photo of my father who abused me for all of my childhood. A piece of classical music that reminds of my further abuse, an empty bottle of alcohol from my drinking days, a razor blade from when I used to self-harm (not that long ago) etc…..all things that I’d let to literally and metaphorically shove somewhere where they can’t hurt me anymore. I’d pack it up and put it somewhere like the attic or the back of the garage where it wasn’t on constant view. I just don’t want to live in that place any more. I want and intend to move on.