Haruki Murakami was quoted as saying that “once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive…But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in”
This quote resonates with me, but what Haruki doesn’t mention or talk about is some of us walking out of the storm are still a little battered and still piss wet through and that we still need time to dry out. For some of us, there will be feelings and emotions during the storm that have left memories. Some still painful, unresolved that we haven’t had a chance to put then to bed and finally allow then to lay to rest.
I wish I could walk away from some of my storms without knowing or questioning how I made it through or how I managed to survive, but I can’t.
One of the best things for me that has come out of my addiction experience has been the recovery process. I have enjoyed the discovery of recovery, learning new things about myself. Understanding where my triggers and cravings came from, which was usually driven by an unmet emotional need. The best and most challenging parts have been learning to love me and accept my flaws, which has helped me draw a line in the past and carve a future path.
Writing has really helped with this process, being able to extract and dump all my thoughts onto paper has become a coping strategy. And up until recently, writing the book has been cathartic. So much so, I no longer suffer the torturous nightmares I used to have about Dad since I started writing the book.
But I hit a wall, writer’s block they call it. I fell out of love with writing, I found it hard to find the right words or articulate how I was feeling, I tried to write, but it wouldn’t come. At first, I put it down to hormones, COVID, being stuck in a rut, too much time spent alone, working from home, overthinking, I thought I was going fucking mad. But after a lot and I mean ‘A lot’ of soul searching, I realised it wasn’t any of these. You see I was stuck at a particular chapter, a part of my past, something I thought I had dealt with, put to bed, but then I realised that there was a wound that it hadn’t yet healed properly.
Now I have dealt with many emotions over the years, sadness, worthlessness, loneliness, shame, guilt you name it, the list goes on. I will spare you the specific details about the chapter as the details don’t really matter. What matters more was understanding why it still hurt so much.
I’m generally not a romancer I am a pragmatist at heart. Still, this memory had me romancing memories, stolen memories laced with regrets. For the past week, my days have been consumed recreating memories. Memories that I had missed out on because I was too wrapped up in meeting another man’s needs and demands. But this time something was different and after a lot of soul searching and patience, I finally realised what it was, it hit me, it was ANGER.
It took me totally unaware; I hadn’t realised just how angry I had been, I’d been blinded by it. I felt angry at myself, foolish even that I allowed myself to be manipulated, used, and no amount of self-compassion seemed to help. For some reason, I just couldn’t let it go.
I hated feeling this way, continually feeling unsettled, unsure about myself. Usually, an optimist I found myself being pessimistic about everything. I felt physically lethargic, I could feel myself withdrawing, and I needed to find a way out and quick, the only problem was I didn’t know-how.
But then the penny dropped – I needed to let go of the anger.
This revelation came to me at my weekly Monday Morning Writers group. I love this group, but that morning on the 1st Feb 2021 had been the first time since I joined that I didn’t want to be there, I had nothing to say, I hadn’t made any progress. I was stuck.
As usual, I was greeted by familiar faces, people I have grown to trust. I tried to be positive and my usual upbeat self, but instead I withdrew after saying my usual “hello’s”. I muted myself waiting for the session to start.
January had been a tough month for everyone for many reasons, so our writing prompt was to think about all the potential positives that February could bring. I took pen to paper, nothing came, looked up, and sat busy writing, they seem to have a lot to say, but I was stuck. Trying not to overthink I let my words flow…
I don’t want to think,
I don’t want to write.
I just want to board a plane and jump on the next flight.
I feel like I’m on the brink.
Life fucking stinks
Nowhere to run
Life’s stopped being fun.
I need to have a word.
Gi me head a wobble
I know thinking this way will only get me into trouble.
I need to find a way to pop this fucking self-pity bubble.
Fuck it I don’t know how!
It was time to feedback – At first, I was reluctant to share, everyone else’s seemed so positive and upbeat, and I didn’t want to bring the mood down, but I had to be honest.
‘I’m sorry folks I’m feeling like a Mardy Bastard today, and I’m not sure if I want to share.’
After a little encouragement, I shared what I’d written, I felt compelled to share the root of my anger, I continued to share the part of the story that was causing so much pain. I stopped sharing conscious I was taking too much time of the group, mindful that others hadn’t shared yet. Bev spoke first
‘It’s bound to be hard to write parts of this book because you’re taking yourself back to difficult places. You need to look after yourself while you’re writing it.’
‘You don’t have to be positive all the time,’ said another member of the group. ‘Thanks for being vulnerable.’
‘You have to remind yourself, as well as writing this book you have an emotionally demanding job too’ said someone else.
‘What might help here?’ asked Bev.
It didn’t take me long to respond ‘Well, for starters a baseball bat (to his head) might help or a small dose of COVID?’ I laughed, but deep down I meant i
‘No seriously, joking aside, I know I need to just let this anger go, I know I can’t change it, I know this’ – Just whilst as I said those words, I could feel a weight lift from my shoulders, but also in my heart.
DA Scottish guy who always makes me smile, laughed warmly ‘Tracey, we all struggle at some point and let’s face it, you aren’t writing a fictional story, this is real life’. And I knew he was right!
You see, I preach on about practising self-compassion and yet for the past week I hadn’t done any on myself. In fact, all I had done is berate myself. For the past week, I had allowed myself to live in the past. Worst still I hadn’t even really shared with anyone how I’d been feeling, let alone thinking. Well, not until that morning. It was no fucking wonder I felt like I was going to self-combust.
The session ended, and I was so happy that I’d made the decision to go along, despite my initial misgivings. And after a day of work-related meetings, I headed out for my evening walk or should I say stomp! As I gathered speed, instead of taking my usual turning up Birley Lane, I continued walking, heading for the narrow path on White Lane towards Ford. I turned on the torch on my phone to help navigate the narrow and uneven path, the roads were quieter than usual, and I was grateful for that. Every so often I stopped and took in the sky, every time I stopped, the clouds’ sequence seemed to have changed and the colours too. The further I walked the lighter I felt. with each step I was mentally letting go of a part of my past was just that ‘The past’. When I got back home, I went straight back to my room and revisited the words I’d written that morning and turned it into something else
I cried today
But that’s ok
You see, my past caught me out.
I thought I’d moved on.
Always assuming I was strong.
Turns out I was wrong
I went back in time when I felt vulnerable and weak.
Back to a place when life seemed so dark and bleak
I could choose to not revisit the past.
I could leave it where it belongs.
But something inside me needs to rewrite all the wrongs.
A need to make sense of a past
For me to clear a way forward
But I’m working out this isn’t always fucking straightforward.
I know thinking this way will get me into trouble.
So, every so often I have to give me head a wobble and pop the self-pity bubble.
I know deep down that once I’ve drawn that line in the past.
I will be able to stay in the present, which feels a lot more fucking pleasant.
I’m learning that to continue
I need to practice some more self-compassion
Something that of late feels like it’s gone out of fashion
It was time to have a word wi me sen.
So, I gave me sen a big mental cuddle.
Told me sen that I’ll be alright
And reminded me sen of others who are going through worst plights.
I have just strayed off course.
And on reflection, life could be worse.
I’ve come so far and I ain’t going back.
Just for today, I made a promise to give me sen some slack.
I took some time out.
I had a word wi me sen
And finally found some of me lost yen
I’ve learned a valuable lesson this week, and that’s “Whilst our past can haunt us, they don’t have to continue to hurt us” That is only if we let them. Me writing and sharing this the final part of me letting go and leaving the past in the past, where it fucking belongs –
A special thanks to my Daughters, Danielle and Lauren and to all the guys in the Monday Morning Motivation Writing group.
Remember, try not to be afraid of who you truly are, be proud of your recovery and remember, if you would like to subscribe to more posts, please go to https://www.shithappens.me.uk/contact/ and sign up for emails.
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