It's a strange thing, chronologically reliving your own past. I just got my memoir back from my editor, so have been re-reading the whole thing again: my childhood, adolescence, crappy marriages, and the whole nightmare scenario of my child in rehab.
Once you begin a project like this, you're surprised by all the depth of emotions it actually dredges up. The strangest thing of all is putting things into chronological order, then looking them over with a surprised eye. I never realized what a difference such a simple exercise would make. Oh, so that's what led to that. Oh, is that the incident that tipped me over the edge and made me want to die? I'd always just remembered a general despair but that's a specific horror. Wow! What do you know?
Self discovery likes to play charades, I think. It'll dress up as this or that, tap its arm and make you guess how many syllables. Then and only then, can you begin to figure out what the hell it's dressed up as. What you're dressed up as. For years, I wore the mask of a tough broad, scary and cool, the don't-fuck-with-me girl of the neighborhood. Funny to think about now, because that's not what I am at all and yet, it is. Then I was the protective mother, the funny woman, the patient but long-suffering wife. Then I morphed into the victim, the sad one, the thing to be pitied.
How many syllables? What the hell was I?
I was all of those things. I still am, and so much more. That's the glorious thing about being alive; you can change your ways in much the same way as changing you clothes. I was miserable. Now I'm not. I was a victim. Now I work hard not to be. I hated myself. Now I don't. All free will, all free choice, and most of it hard as hell. No matter what you've been, how low you've sunk or how many awful things have happened to you or terrible things you've done, there is still a fucking shopping mall of clothes to change into. Your heart and soul are the ones you were born with and no baby was ever a scumball. Shining, precious, beautiful. That's your soul. No matter what you drape over it or swaddle to try and smother it in, no matter what stinking cover you've clamped around it, it will always be beautiful. The clothing is what you do with your life; your actions and reactions to everything. So if life sucks, get a new wardrobe. It's not easy but it's simple. Remember that no matter what damage you do to yourself for whatever reason, you can always become beautiful because the core of you is always beautiful and always will be. It's just buried under shit, and stinking shitpiles grow beautiful flowers. I say it all the time. Believe in yourself, find your own beauty and wear something lovely. I read this memoir of mine, which is so close to being sent to the printers, and I see the pattern of sewage I've draped myself in for so long. It's a rare thing to be able to review your own life in print and come out severely shaken but proud to have survived it all. Be proud of yourself too. Believe and protect that glowing inner light.