When I write about my past and the things I have endured and experienced it is never in the hope that others will do as I do or did, it is not so I can relive those memories or dwell in the past. I write not to seek pity from anyone. Please don’t feel sorry for me or for the pain I have experienced and endured, for I have learned much from it, none of it was in vain. Recalling and recounting the painful memories is something I do in my head, I can’t un-remember them, but when I write about it/them I gain insight as to what I did, what I could have done differently, but mostly, what I must do in an effort not to repeat them. For while I cannot undo what has been done I can undo the actions, decisions, and behaviors I once did. Writing allows me to analyze myself, look at myself, and see the things I can change, and let go of the things I can’t. I am a person that sees things as black and white, there are no shades of grey in my world, and there is nothing more black and white than when I put pen to paper and write down what it is I am feeling or what I felt while I am going through it-and then revisiting those ideas, thoughts, and feelings. It’s often when I look back on things when I am removed from the emotions of whatever it is I endured or experienced, that I see the error of my ways. This is precisely why I try not to say the very thing I am thinking at the very moment I am thinking it. When I am hurt and angry I can say and do things I would not ordinarily do and say, and I can hurt others, say and do things I may one day live to regret, which is why I began journaling. When I began journaling though, I had no intention of ever sharing with others what I wrote. I was raised in a family that believed strongly in keeping things ‘in house.’ Many of my experiences and much of what I felt and thought could not be shared with ‘outsiders,’ in fact, much of what I endured and experienced was never even spoken or discussed amongst my family. What’s done is done, it is what it is, get over it, just whatever you do, don’t talk about it; it’s as if it never happened. Unfortunately for me, I have a long memory, I am highly sensitive, and many of the things that were treated as if they never happened, happened, and they happened to me. Unfortunately, when others cannot, will not, or do not acknowledge the things that have happened, occurred, or taken place, it can often leave the people that it happened to with the feeling that what happened, didn’t or doesn’t matter. Not having one’s feelings and experiences validated can often leave an individual with feelings of resentment and feeling as if they don’t matter. Acting as though nothing happened or as if what happened to you didn’t happen can make you question your sanity as well as your self worth, at least in my experience. It is only as I began therapy and at the behest of my therapist that I began writing down my feelings about the things that I endured and experienced, that I found myself making peace with it all. Writing has given me a voice to say what I want to say, share what I felt and feel, and see the things I could not see with a clarity that wasn’t possible at the time I was enduring it. Hindsight, it’s a hell of a thing. I wrote a letter to my dead father, I knew he would never read it, but I said all the things I wished I had said to him when he was alive. I have written other letters to people that wronged me, betrayed me, abused me, and hurt me. I did this because I knew these conversations were likely to never happen otherwise, but I had things I needed to say to them, wanted to say, but wouldn’t. Some might see these things as futile or wasted time and energy, but for me it was, is, and has been, cathartic. I didn’t get interrupted, I wasn’t silenced or told to ‘get over it,’ and best of all, no one told me that it didn’t matter. What happened to me, what was done to me, what I feel or felt, what I endured and experienced, by all accounts, should not have happened, and were I to know what I know now, wouldn’t have happened, but they did and pretending they didn’t hadn’t helped. As with many things that are painful, they leave their mark/scar, but not all scars are a bad thing. I was blessed to experience motherhood, that experience has left several scars. I know many women that have given birth and have managed to ‘bounce back’ into shape, no stretch marks or anything. I am not one of them. My ‘baby’ is about to be twenty years old, and I have yet to lose the last of my ‘baby fat.’ Even when or if I ever manage to lose the last of my baby weight I cannot erase my stretch marks. The point is, I may not be happy with my body in its current shape, but the memory of carrying my son’s has most certainly left its scars, but when compared to the mark it’s left on my heart and in my life, those scars are more like badges of honor. They have taught me so much, I have learned so much from being their mother. Anything I may have faced, endured, or experienced, throughout my life, pales in comparison. I have learned that every experience, good and bad, can teach us something, we can learn something from it. We must acknowledge everything, seek to find purpose for it and in it, nothing happens without reason. I may not have recognized or seen the reason for what has happened or all that has happened when it happened or was happening, but looking back, I can see the sense of it all, it served its purpose. I would not be who I am or where I am were any one thing to change; to change one thing would be to change everything, and whatever battle wounds I may have got along the way were worth it, I earned every one of them and I wear them proudly because they are proofpositive that I am a survivor.
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