For a long time I’ve talked about sharing my story. Of writing a memoir about my childhood trauma, it’s impact on me, and my recovery and healing.
People who love me have told me, with the best of intentions, that I need to stop living in the past. That telling this story is a sign I still live in the past, the past still controls me, and I’m not being present in my reality now and not creating anything new. For a while, I believed this.
I can say this now. I don’t want to live in the past. I don’t want to let the past control me. I don’t wish my future to be dictated to by my past. I have chosen to be free and to create a new reality for myself. I choose that today again.
I can say categorically, that my past no longer has power over me. I no longer live there. I am free.
This is why my story needs to be told.
I’m sitting in a coffee house during my week off work, on my own, online. A few login issues on my laptop have done their work with my head for today. When your brain is like mine, it only takes little things to wind you up and frustrate you to extreme proportions.
I used to think it was immaturity. Now I know it’s just how my brain works.
And now I’m writing, sitting here, alone. I’m lonely. But I’m still here.
I was sitting at my desk recently at work, busying myself with whatever was important that day. I always listen to music at my desk. Music takes me into my own world, it isolates me from all around me, which helps me focus a lot better.
But it also takes me into my dreams. The best music stirs our imagination, it moves our soul, it connects with our story – and our true self, buried in layers below the conscious self.
I don’t recall what music I was listening to at this moment, in truth. But it doesn’t matter
My mind went on a journey. Suddenly, I wasn’t sitting at my desk at work anymore. I was on an adventure. I was travelling. I was going to the places I’ve always dreamed of travelling to. I was having adventures. I was taking risks. And I felt fully alive and fully myself.
Today I received a letter from a medical professional. It read that they believed I was on the autistic spectrum, and recommend I take formal tests to confirm this. It wasn’t a full diagnosis. But it was as close as it gets without one
When I read this letter, despite my better judgement, despite all my knowledge to the contrary, something inside felt….deficient.
In my last post I wrote about mundane I deemed my own life to be. That wasn’t an emotional, depressed assessment. In a way it disturbed me more because it wasn’t. I’d gone beyond emotion, pity, despair, to just acceptance of how my life was, is, and would always be.
But I know I have this habit of airbrushing the good in my life. The good I do, the good I experience, the joy of life.I airbrush it out. I make it look invisible. I ignore it. I act like it’s not real. I’m an Enneagram 4, and it’s part of my make up to do this. I fail to see the good in my own life, whilst over-emphasising the good in others lives.
But in truth, my life is so much better than I made out in my previous blog.
When I returned to blogging, the whole thing was write a bit about our lives. And if I’m honest, that’s always freaked me out.
I’m terrified to write about my actual life. I don’t have kids. I’m not married nor do I have a partner. I haven’t got the life I desired, I’m not settled into a life. My story isn’t the story of most of my peers. And if I am honest with myself, I still feel deficient because of it. I still feel less normal. Like I belong less. That I have less value.
And if that sounds like a self-pitying, depressed statement, I can assure you it’s not.
This is what something in my soul has told me I am. Deficient, less than, not as valuable, not wise, mature or normal enough to find the life I still desire, unable to commit, unable to be a grown up. It’s story I’ve told myself. A prison story.
How long is it since I wrote for just the love of it? It feels like years. I’ve been writing to build a career for so long, the love just died. Betrayal and failure got their hands on my writing gift and tore it down. The love just died.
But here I am again. My dear friend Nish tweeted the other day about writing for the love of it, returning to pure blogging, just sharing our stories. I and others were inspired.
My dear friend, author and speaker Claire Musters, joins me on the show today. Claire shares her powerful and challenging testimony of how she had to confront the masks she was wearing, the darkness in her life, and how through the love and grace of friends, her devoted husband and God, she found a way to healing and transformation – and in the process discovered her authentic self. Claire also talks about the masks we all wear, the different roles we play in our lives, and how to confront the challenge of taking off those masks and doing the work to discover our authentic selves, as she writes about her new book ‘Taking Off The Mask’. What we discover in our conversation is that taking off our masks is a journey to discover our true selves, and to know the divine in a deeper, richer way. Find more of Claire’s work at www.clairemusters.com, and buy her new book ‘Taking Off The Mask, on her website or on Amazon.P
April 1st 1985.
It was the first Monday of Holy Week. Little was I to know it would become the moment my life descended into hell.
I still remember. I remember the lights of the ambulance lighting up my bedroom window. I remember creeping downstairs in a hallway lit up mainly by outside lights, seeing the ambulance outside. And I remember walking into our front lounge, seeing my mum, sitting in the chair.
Eyes looking downwards, not moving.
She was completely still. Her body paralysed by a severe asthma attack. (more…)