This series was originally a two part series, but I think there's more to be said, I might not be able to figure out enough in my usual two week window to coherently author a whole post, so like last time I might need the occasional change but I'm learning that I'm not alone, there's others like me.
Who struggle and try not to let it show.
Who stumble and hope nobody noticed.
Who hurt almost daily and pretend it's OK.
This is for you, as much as it is for me, if you don't understand what this is like, maybe this blog post might help enlighten you.
"You don't know what I've been through, if you did, you wouldn't be talking to me. I'm broken and not worth fixing and if you tried I'd bring you down."
This is how it is sometimes, for some of us at least.
It sucks, because those two sentences are life sentences. Everything that can hold a mind prisoner can be contained in those words. A mind prison is the most effective prison in the world, it requires very little work to build, simply words, events can build one too, but words are enough. I have, at some point or another said them to someone, or acted as if I had said them.
I'm ashamed of many of the things that have happened to me, some were my fault, some weren't.
Somehow though, I rationalised that because stuff kept coming my way I accepted it as the norm, perhaps I even deserved it. It's wrong, but it's so easy to believe it.
I was set on fire: Not my fault.
I was beaten up regularly because I didn't fit in: Not my fault.
I was assaulted at uni by a guy on PCP: Not. My. Fault.
I believed it was though and this is how it begins.
Stuff happens, we all react in our own way, but I adopted the identity that was pushed upon me.
This was a negative identity, one I imagine most people would dislike if they had seen my past. I assumed (was almost afriad) others would agree with what my past and my mind prison stated rather than who I am.
I'm sorry, I truly am, I struggle with this. I struggle with accepting I am not the words that were spoken about me. I sometimes feel smaller than my past, I sometimes wake up thinking that the people in my life somehow disapprove of me because of my past, not approve of me for who I am.
I really am sorry for feeling like this some days.
This conflict between current self and past self caused cognitive dissonance. It felt like my brain was burning and my heart was breaking all at once. It felt like I was loosing my mind.
It created brokenness, in myself, in relationships, in opportunities...
I struggled with this, I occasionally attempted to open up but sooner or later I get hurt again and I retreated, hiding my face, my feelings and my interests.
Sometimes I was betrayed by those I sought comfort in and I hurt, but I rationalised it, my past piped up, reminded me that I'm not worth it. It wasn't their fault, it was mine, I relied on them too much, I pushed them away. Either by being too open or too closed, I could argue it either way.
It causes me to reach the next step, I was broken, but worse, I believed not worth fixing, I had my reasons for this. My friends wouldn't have left, that relationship wouldn't have ended, etc. I sank further and further down.
Eventually I meet new people because that just happens in life and I had so much stuff that I felt I was a burden to anyone who might seek to get to know me, because my past interfered and trapped me in the never ending cycle of not knowing how or when to open up in a healthy manner (if at all).
So I lied.
"Yeah, I'm ok."
But, I keep believing what my past defined me as, so I remained cut off from some pretty amazing things.
There's was a way out, I had to learn to recognise when it was my time to change (and I did have to change), it's not something anyone could do for me.
My problem was another attitude: "This is my pain, you can't have it!"
I didn't want to let go of it, because I'd lived with it so long, I didn't know how to live without it, on days when I felt numb, I could trawl the depths of myself and find pain, I'd feel like crap, but that was something.
The fact is, you can't just extract someone's pain, you're left with a void, a great big emptiness where once an identity was.
It needs to be replaced, maybe all at once, maybe a bit at a time, again, everyone is different. This is the hardest part, because it's almost impossible to imagine anything beyond what there is, survival is the only priority, if there's any priorities at all.
I learned that the only way to do this was to change who it is that speaks over you.
2 Corinthians 5:17 states: "So then if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has passed away, look, what is new has come."
God has authority over my past, it is gone, but, it explicitly states that something new is put in its place.
When I changed the author of my identity I changed the nature of my identity and when I did that, I started to see things differently, little victories here and there, slowly adding up til the battles become sure victories.
I'd like to say I'm over it, I'm not, we are all works in progress after all. I am just thankful that I have more days defined the way God sees me than the way I saw myself.
Til next time.