The Village needs Forgiveness (a #1000Speak post)

Occasionally, in the Blogosphere, a spate of posts will crop up across the place – letters to my former self – and my heart jumps into my mouth as I begin to panic that someone might tag me to write one. But things seem to be falling into disconcerting place, and I feel I may soon need to.

I was challenged, very recently by my friend Kristi Campbell, of Finding Ninee, to forgive the child-me.

Her challenge came just as the topic of forgiveness was impending for 1000Speak, and just as I’d had some difficult flashbacks to my childhood, which reminded me why I am so glad to be getting older, and just as I had some incredible feedback about my actions a couple of years ago, and just as WonderAunty quoted a wonderful TED talk to me, which made me think.

Just…I’m not keen on the idea, because I HATE HER.

Pre-seven, things were well and good, but one fateful day in my seventh year, something triggered, and the father I knew, changed. My formative years were irrevocably altered from then, as a result of his unrelenting depression and other considerations, and how his ‘dealing’ with it led to the systematic and daily attacks on our psyches. We all lived on eggshells.

I changed, and became weird. I’m not sure entirely how, but it wasn’t in a good way – it was in a way which made me very obviously a victim, and left me open to bullying at school. A group of noisy teenage boys in close proximity, coupled with a smell reminiscent of school dinners, recently left me panicking, paralysed, because of the flashbacks they induced.

As soon as I was in a safe space, I fell apart. I remembered being told off by a teacher for crying too noisily when one of my bullies had slapped me. I remembered hiding under piles of bags and coats to avoid going out to the playground at lunchtime, because I had no-one to play with. I remembered it being successful because nobody missed me. I remembered being turned away from the nurse’s station, dismissed as a hypochondriac after turning up with another imaginary illness, hoping for a kind word or some positive interaction. I remembered hiding in my father’s wardrobe with the door shut, hoping not to be found, because while I was hidden, I was safe.

I remember comfort eating, because food was about the only good thing. I remember one day at the doctor’s (for something entirely different) being poked by his severe finger in the middle of my soft belly, and his sneering voice informing me “You’re getting a bit fat.”

Fat1

It was the first time I knew to be ashamed of my body, but the bullies at school quickly capitalized on my weight. It doesn’t take much for a child to be different enough to be a target, and I was fat, bad at sports, lonely, from a Christian household without a television, had glasses, and had hit every branch on my fall from the ugly tree. I was unwantable, unloveable, unforgivable, and deserving of every jibe and rejection. I even remember someone I’d thought was a friend telling me that she’d told other people she hung out with me sometimes because she felt sorry for me, afraid of exposing herself to bullying if she said that she liked me. I conceded her point.

Things didn’t begin to change until I met my first true friend at 16. Last year we celebrated half our lives as friends. That the messy, ugly, vile child I had been, was somehow worthy of a friend, was astonishing to me. That anyone would accept, appreciate, or want me, who wasn’t tied to me by blood and obligation, was ASTOUNDING.

I remain astounded.

I struggle, most days, to feel worthwhile, and anything less than a burden. Things are improving, and the amount of time I spend not dwelling on those thoughts is increasing. It increased enormously when I visited America last year, and SO MANY PEOPLE WELCOMED ME!

They wanted me, they appreciated me, they enjoyed my company and loved me for who I am, and none of them was forced or coerced, or said it without meaning it, or with fingers crossed behind their backs, to hurt me…they meant it, and they chose me. I spent three weeks on cloud nine, dazzled. I was told by several people they’d never seen me look so happy – and they were right: I had never been so happy.

Yet once I was home, the rot set back in. I was desperately low, having left my Muricans behind and returned to the complexities and challenges of my day-to-day world. I was grieving, and spent a lacklustre month hiding in my room, eating, putting on weight, resigned to the way my reflection was looking more and more like that hideous being I’d been before – the unwantable one.

I can’t stand looking like her, and much of that mindset forms the manner in which I see myself physically. Character-wise, I do my utmost to behave in ways which are as far-removed from her as possible. The way I view myself (I am told) is not how others do, but is vastly distorted into something quite horrific.

It is clear I need to unhook.

I need to find a way to stop accepting the authority which was established over me, and the destructive opinions which were enforced upon my young mind. I need to empty my pockets of the rocks of their rejection; to float to the surface, and breathe.

The way to do this might be forgiveness. Certainly compassion for my younger self, who could no more have prevented the abuse and the impression it made on her, than have stopped the tide from coming in. Canute-like, in either scenario, her feet would have disappeared beneath the waves, but that doesn’t mean I need to go through the rest of life with the after-effects of wet feet.

The Village needs Forgiveness - #100Speak

WonderAunty quoted the speaker of the TED talk she’d enjoyed in which the topic was old wrongs, and how to heal from them. He talked about the trials of life, how by enduring them and striving to rebuild our lives and ourselves in their aftermath, we can find meaning in them, render them somehow redeemable.

“Forging meaning and building identity does not make what was wrong, right – it only makes what was wrong, precious.” – Andrew Solomon

He spoke at length about the bullying he had been subject to, and how he recognized that without those awful, humiliating, debasing experiences, he wouldn’t be the person he is today. This is a rhetoric with which I’m very familiar – it is the language of Silver Linings, and Seeking Good. It is the language of Thankfulness and compassion, and knowing that in the end, #LoveWins.

It is the knowledge that without having undergone each and every painful stepping stone of my past, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. By all accounts except my own, that person is something rather special. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve heard “I wish you could see yourself through my eyes…” accompanied by the wistful sigh of someone I love, acknowledging that again the spectre of my old self has risen and blinded me to the person I’ve become.

Becoming. My word for the rest of my life.

Who I want to become is ‘the furthest possible thing from what I was’, to buffer against the possibility of future rejection and reviling on such a wholesale scale. Who I want to become is someone warm, caring, kind and lovely – someone people are drawn to, and whose presence is delightful to be in. Who I want to become is someone who strives to let people know they matter (having known what it feels like to not), who reaches out (having felt so, so alone), and who includes (having spent years going from one circle of closed backs, to another).

Who I want to become is…and even as I type, I look at all those characteristics I ‘want’ to embody, and realise those are (to some extent) behavioural choices I’m already making. I reach out. I include. I act with kindness and caring to the extent of my ability to do so. I try to give the benefit of the doubt, and my patience and forbearance have both been called into question for being too excessive in the face of challenging people.

Last week a Facebook blogging group I’m a member of, had started a thread encouraging us to celebrate something wonderful about a fellow blogger. I didn’t expect to be tagged, and certainly never anticipated the following comment from Cathy, who blogs at An Empowered Spirit.

“Lizzi hardly knew me and always reached a kind hand to me in her thoughts. I was the ‘old bag’ in the youngster group but she made me feel welcome. A few years back, it made a difference to me, Lizzi, and I wanted you to know…I remember you vividly because you so stood out in the crowd. Filled with compassion and kindness. Those are your gifts.” – Cathy Chester

I was astonished. I felt, for a moment, as though all the things I was striving to Become, had became already! As though I’d succeeded, even back then, at taking my hurts and turning them into helps. It felt amazing. It’s something I’ve consistently tried to do, knowing how painful my own existence was, and wanting to ensure that no-one else has to endure the same, if I can help it.

I try to spread thankfulness, happiness, glitter, and *twinklysparklygoodness*.

I try to keep up with people, and try to surround myself with as many friends as possible, so that I feel less like the worthless, unwantable person I accepted myself as being, for so many years. I try desperately to let none of my behavior (or looks) slip into ways which hearken back to her, lest my now-people catch on, and realise that I am her, and we both are unloveable.

‘Becoming’ gets difficult when I’m faced with a transition which cannot be a transition, because it must be an acceptance, rather than a jettisoning. Whilst I would much rather cut ties with past-me and set her adrift, I am resigned to the idea that at least my anxiety about turning back into her is a powerful motivator for good.

But letting go of my fear and hatred of her? Finally making peace with the horror I (and then-people) perceived her as? Finding a way to see those dark, destroying threads of my life’s tapestry as the very reasons I so determinedly seek the light for myself and those around me, and to be glad for them – for her? I must, in order to move on. I must accept her wrongness, and the wrongness of the abusive situations she was exposed to, and make her precious.

I must forgive her.

Imagine the freedom, the difference which could be felt if I was no longer hooked into anger, fear, and self-hate. Imagine what I could do if I were purely focused on the good I can do, as catalyzed by the person I used to be.

I see it elsewhere, like my friend Byron (one of the best men I know), who writes at Trauma Dad. He’s using the aftermath of his own abusive childhood as motivation not only to be a great dad to his girls, but to seek out and celebrate those who are actively involved in preventing child abuse, or standing as advocates for abused and bullied children.

It strikes me that even the 1000 Voices Speak is here, in part, because my desire to include and create community, inspired the post which inspired Yvonne to create the movement. Astonishing!

Imagine the freedom and the difference which could be made if we, The Village, were able to unhook, forgive, acknowledge the awful things which have happened to us, and make them precious – using them as catalysts for good.

You never know – we might just change the world!

1000Speak

This month, 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion continues to work toward a better world with a focus on FORGIVENESS.

Write a relevant post and add it to the link-up right here by clicking the blue button below.

Here’s how to get involved:

Join 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion on Facebook

Visit the 1000Speak blog

Follow @1000Speak on Twitter

Use the #1000Speak hashtag across social media.

Watch Andrew Solomon’s full, amazing TED talk here:

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71 thoughts on “The Village needs Forgiveness (a #1000Speak post)

  1. Pingback: Who am I now? | Considerings

  2. I agree that forgiving the younger you could help. Yet, perhaps it’s just as important to start by forgiving where you are right now – forgiving yourself for holding resentment towards how you were and towards people from your past. Because the past is past and we can’t go back and repair it. In a way your younger self doesn’t need your forgiveness, because she doesn’t exist. But you – the now you – is who could do with being let off the hook.
    My feeling (based on my own experience) is that trying to forgive our past selves can wind up just being stuck regurgitating the past, whereas when you (I) start forgiving the self right now, the memories from the past begin to heal organically – sometimes they may pop into the conscious mind, but they don’t need to.

    Hope this makes sense – I know what I mean, but not sure I’ve conveyed it well. I can try again if it doesn’t make sense.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I see Carol said something similar to what I’m saying here.
      Also, some more thoughts that might make it slightly clearer – the more we allow ourselves to feel good enough *now* the more we naturally begin to feel empathy with our younger selves.
      What you’re doing is, in essence, saying “I’m not good enough because I think I wasn’t good enough years ago.” It’s just another stick to beat yourself with, and a way to hold onto the past. And that’s all okay. We hold onto the past until we don’t, and trying to force that doesn’t change a thing. (God knows, I tried hard enough.)
      So my suggestion to you is: give yourself permission to hate your younger self for a while, and see what happens…

      Liked by 1 person

    • I think I get it, but it’s the past me (as evident (to me)) in the current me, which I dislike and have no interest in reconciling, just running from. Which I know, is silly and unproductive and impossible.

      Like

  3. I just want to hug both ‘then-you’ and ‘now-you’, and then I want to go hurt those bullies for hurting you! I know, it’s not that easy even if I could go back in time.

    You write so honestly, it’s a deep breath of fresh air. Forgiveness is a beautiful thing, but forgiving ourselves is a journey. Be kind to yourself, my friend ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • *HUGS* I wouldn’t let you go back, for fear you’d see then-me…BUT, thank you for the sentiment, and for being my now-friend 🙂

      A journey is precisely what it is, and the tricky thing is recognising it wasn’t even really her fault, I mean, she didn’t help herself by being fat and ugly and dressing weird and being immensely ‘pickable on’, BUT…all that crap was so railroaded into the little-kid-her, she didn’t have a chance to be anything different than awful.

      I think one of the frustrating things is some of my family remember different things about me – better ones than I can remember, forsure.

      That said, I’m working on a new thought, since yesterday, that perhaps now-me is who I was all along (a thought which makes me rather uncomfortable) and then-me just got bulldozed and wasn’t an accurate representation.

      I dunno…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. On some level, most of us are fleeing some parts of our own past. It is small consolation, but I’ve found that the older I’ve become (and I have a couple of decades on you), the further away I am from that young adult. It’s hard sometimes to not let it creep up on you, but I don’t think you need to forgive your former self – for not being perfect, for being unable to cope with a difficult home life and falling into a cycle of victimization – because you were too young when it started to have been consciously able to find ways to cope. That kind of trauma when very young directly relates how we are as adolescents. It actually takes adulthood to be able to step back far enough to being to heal & find the person that you really are. Finding a way to accept that is a major step toward moving forward. Sometimes we think we have more control over our past than we do. And sometimes we have to remind ourselves that children are not miniature adults, so that we can see why there is nothing to forgive. We just need to accept how we were, and value where we are now.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s a really helpful way of looking at it, Carol…thank you! I hope one day I’m as wise as you.

      I’m still so angry at the person I was, for letting herself get into such a state, but I suppose part of the ‘letting go’ is realising that she could hardly have been expected to help it, given the circumstances. So perhaps instead of forgiveness I need to let her off the hook and stop blaming her – stop finding her culpable, the way others made me feel I was to blame.

      Liked by 1 person

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  6. I like the quote from the TED talk you cite about how to go about making what was wrong, precious. I think we all travel on in life and bring parts of us we dislike and would like to disassociate with forward with us. I hope you really do get there with 7-year-old you because like all the other bits of you, she gets you to who you are now – and on this one I really think you should just go with the consensus opinion – that person is pretty amazing.

    And I think stuff like 1000Speak DO change the world. As in, already happening rather than “going to maybe happen”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a bigger deal than that…I’m hiding from 7-26 year old me. I have mostly past-me which I never want to return to or have to think about again.

      Such a large number of years to try to reconcile and make peace with. It would be far easier (were it possible) to jettison them.

      *sigh*

      Still, I like the idea that things like 1000Speak are already changing the world. That’s a rather lovely thought. Thank you 🙂

      Like

  7. Your story is the story of many. Self-hate cripples us, but when we are young and impressionable and unable to choose who is around us or to protect ourselves, we are vulnerable to the hard words of others. We believe them. A boy I had a crush on in high school called me “plain” in front of his friends, and they all laughed. As an adult, I still struggle when someone compliments my appearance, unable to believe that they could be right and the tape in my head (Plain!!) is wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kit, and thank you for your input on this topic…it’s so difficult, because like you say, there are many of us who struggle with feeling unworthy or less-than, because of the cruelty (intentional or accidental) of influential people on our impressionable minds. In one way it seems just vastly unfair, but in another, I think it makes me more determined to create a better world for the people struggling with it, and for generations to come…if I can! I think movements like 1000Speak help a LOT towards that.

      I hope so, anyway.

      I hope you find a way to accept the compliments and allow them to transform your thinking, and silence that inner critic.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Birds of a feather flock together, Lizzi. As you know I also had problems with bullying in school. I’m so sorry you had to deal with that. I had a problem with forgiving my child-me as well. I hated her, despised her, found her weak. My hatred for her developed into a horrific eating disorder and poisoned every relationship I had. I wanted to blend in withe crowd; go unnoticed; be the norm; and then I realized, that there’s no fun in that. I like comic books and dark, weird things. I collect lighters and am pretty sure I was a Viking in my past life. I talk to myself, laugh at inappropriate moments and continuously prepare myself for the zombie apocalypse. Birds like us, Lizzi, are too bright and bold; too colorful and majestic to blend in with the flocks. And though we may not be everybody’s cup of tea, there’s no denying that we make an impact on everyone that hears our song. Hope you have a great week. ❤ 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • My dear, that’s a rather lovely way of looking at it. My horrible eating disorder isn’t about wanting to fit in, though, it’s about wanting to be the furthest thing possible from that repulsive, fat, awful child, who was so very rejectable. I want to be liked. I want to be wanted. But more than those, I want to *feel* as though I am likeable and wantable, and I think those things only come with time and the steady drip of reinforcement from the wonderful people who choose to love me while I’m still such a mess (in many ways).

      I love your weirdness though, and your individuality and how ready you are to be exactly and precisely who and how you want to be. That’s a HUGE win for…well, for all of us who were bullied and made to feel less-than. I’m so glad. And you’re definitely MY cup of tea *hugs* I’m so glad to know you ❤ We'll keep singing our songs and joining in with the people who respond.

      THANK YOU for this wonderful, wonderful share of your own story. I thoroughly appreciate it ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  9. As I’ve learned a lot about life and about myself, I’ve come to an important assumption about people (thanks Dr. Ross Greene!) that in any given moment, they are doing the BEST they can. Period. When you were seven and your life went to shit, you were in SURVIVAL mode. You were doing to absolute best you could. And with your young mind, you actually believed the shit that people put upon you. By the way, when people see something about you they revile against, it’s because it’s something within themselves they are reviling against. All of that crap was about THEM, and your beautiful, perfect, little, young soul got confused, and in trying to make sense of things, believed the shit (kids do that). You were just trying to make it from day to day. (Can you tell I’ve been there, too?) There was nothing wrong with your young self, your beautiful self. There is nothing to forgive. She was doing her very best with the skills she had. And she had no one that taught her that she was beautiful.

    All I want to do is give you a huge squeeze, a gigantic hug, and tell you that that little girl inside of you just wants your love and support. She’s still there waiting for you.

    A few years ago, I was working with my amazing hypnotherapist to heal some of my own shit, and she had me drift back in time. I could see so clearly that I had believed my mother when she verbally assaulted me (or basically abandoned me when she was too depressed to be a mother). I believed that there was something wrong with me. As soon as I realized the truth of what happened, my “little me” instantly realized that she had taken on beliefs that were not true (about her being defective). In the next instant, she let go of them completely and instantly became a happy, bubbly little kid. Since then, I’ve done a number of other sessions, releasing other “mis-beliefs” that I created during childhood in an attempt to survive my mother and another family member. They were all created because I was just trying to survive. Sorry to go on for so long. I very much relate to your story. And I have also come a very long way in healing my childhood. Hugs to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow…it sounds as though you’ve been able to do some incredibly healing work around the hurts of your own childhood, and yes, there are stark similarities there (sorry to know that, though).

      I take your point about survival, and taking on other people’s perspectives of then-me. I think those are wise thoughts, and ones I will ponder more.

      I know NOW that all of the ‘stuff’ was about the assorted ‘them’s who hurt me, but I suppose that still doesn’t lessen the impact, though it makes the perpetration of it more understandable, and I suppose shifts the blame a little from then-me deserving that treatment. Hmmm. I’d never thought THAT bit through before. Thank you SO MUCH for such a wonderful, useful comment 🙂 *hugs*

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I really like this – I’ve been focusing on forgiving others for the past few years, and it has helped me to become a different person. But I’ve never thought about forgiving myself. There are things from my past that still make me cringe and feel deep shame when I think about them, but I didn’t ever think of it in terms of forgiveness before – I was just regretful. This made me think.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I suppose in the bigger picture it’s all about unhooking and being able to move forward in life without being dragged back to the hurts and shames of the past.

      Interesting you bring up shame, though. It’s definitely something I feel about past-me, though I think I need to think more about precisely why, and what favours I’m doing (or not doing) myself by seeing then-me with such judgemental eyes.

      Like

  11. I will definitely have to watch that talk. I love those talks.
    I could use some advice because I have a lot I am trying to forgive myself for. You, me, those of us who struggle but we are the caring, empathetic souls we are because of the crap we’ve been through. This may not bring much consolation, when we remember how bad it was at many points of the past, but the future will be better for it. I have to believe that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Anna. I think awareness is the first step (one I was missing for many years) and then the decision to seek silver linings and make the best of things…definitely important (though I’m prone to the odd wallow here and there 😉 )

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  12. There are so many wonderful comments here; I’m not sure I can add anything new. I want to wrap my arms around young Lizzi and protect her from those bullies, and wrap my arms around now Lizzi (oh wait, I CAN!) and tell her that all these people who love you can’t be wrong. I know it’s a journey for you, but look around at all the people who are walking beside you.

    This post was heartbreaking and hopeful, and I’m glad you wrote it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Dana, and YES to the hugs 🙂 Can’t wait (and I love that I can say that!), and yaknow, one of the things which I’m so, SO thankful for, about the journey I’ve had so far, is that it’s resulted in me getting to know so many completely wonderful people.

      When I think how different and how stark my life would be without them (and you, my hope-holder) in it…it doesn’t bear thinking about. It really doesn’t. I know that if my life were different I’d have other good things and people in it, but golly, I adore the ones I have now and I wouldn’t swap them for all the tea in China.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. You are becoming. I believe you’ve become much more than you realize on a day-to-day basis. Powerful and heartbreaking post Lizzi, but so much hope within it, too. I so very hope that you will continue to strive to forgive child-you, embrace her experiences which have molded you into one of the kindest, most loving, lovely people that I’ve ever known and will ever know. You’re changing the world. You are. You have. You will continue to.
    Thank WonderAunty for the Ted Talk too. So incredible. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am absolutely and utterly determined to Become…so much more than I was, and am now, though I now see that I’m on the way there, which is AWESOME.

      I’m so thankful for you, for your perspective and friendship, and all the ways you’ve encouraged and supported me, and shown me beyond shadow of a doubt I’m someone who can be considered worthwhile and valuable and loveable.

      I think the only way I’ll be able to make peace with child-me is to acknowledge the ways she’s moulded me into now-me (whether through my determination not to go back to being her, or that combined with the deep hurts which I’m trying to heal or balance by bringing good and light to other people’s lives where I can) and to finally accept the places and manners in which now-me is good and lovely and kind, and all those other things you said.

      I love the idea of changing the world for the better. I hope SO MUCH I will continue to.

      And I’ll pass on your thanks, forsure. It was a STUNNINGLY good talk and I love it.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Aaaaaand I’m in tears.

    If we had gone to school together as kids, I would have been with you, hiding under those coats and we would have made it our Fortress of Coats, and then when we were fed up with the fortress I would have taken you out to the playground and played proudly with you, and told everyone who had a problem with it to damn well put their dukes up and fight me over it. (I was quite a punchy kid.) But we didn’t and so I couldn’t. At least we met when we were teenagers, and I am happy to have been your first true friend and to have (hopefully) started you off thinking that maybe if I liked you, other people could too.

    You have changed a lot over the years, both physically and mentally. But the way I see you has not changed. I hate how much you hate your past self, because I look back at her (you) and see only my goofy, sassy, intensely intelligent, outspoken and fiercely loyal friend. The same person I see today. I feel like a distance has grown between us since you got back from America and I’m sad about that, but at the same time I understand why it is so and I am happy that you have found your place in the world. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • You were the first person I ever trusted really genuinely liked me, as a person who was kind-of-almost her own person, by then, and wasn’t being told by parents that we should get on. You chose me, and I’m forever and ever grateful because you definitely DID put in so many years of groundwork which led to me somehow believing that I was somewhat likeable.

      It took a long time, and I know I’m not entirely there yet, but I think without you, my Soulie, my life would have been starkly different. Or just over. Because you are the person who, over the years, with your insistent, bright, determined friendship, who changed HUGE things in me. Truly. I actually COULDN’T have done it without you. And I’m forever and ever thankful for you and to you, and ever so blessed you chose to be my friend.

      I smiled to think of you standing up to the bullies on my behalf, if we’d been at primary school together. How different my time would have been if I’d had a friend. BUT…if I had, then stepping stones being what they are, the entire course of my life might have changed, and I may not have met you (I went to BP *specifically* because so few people from my school were going there – it was a sanctuary for me).

      You have inspired, encouraged, supported and cared for and about me in ways beyond anything I could ever have imagined, and I’m still and always will be SO GLAD we met, hated each other on sight, and became best friends. (and I’m also happy and quite astonished that you ever saw me that way, in such nice terms, because I don’t see myself that way even now, but I can acknowledge some of it, for sure).

      Thank you. I love you ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  15. OH dear, precious, Lizzi. What a powerful post! You ARE becoming!! These things you share are proof of that. I believe with each step toward all of those GOOD things you do, you grow further and further away from the haunting history of who you ‘were’. We simply MUST strip away those layers of hate and shame of our past. It sometimes sneaks up on me, and I succumb to the shame of my own past and all those things that make me literally sick inside. BUT we have a right to embrace our NEW and TRANSFORMED life, don’t we?

    You are getting there. I love seeing the light shine in who you are now more than ever.

    “Imagine the freedom, the difference which could be felt if I was no longer hooked into anger, fear, and self-hate. Imagine what I could do if I were purely focused on the good I can do, as catalyzed by the person I used to be.” <—- YES!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m getting there. You’re getting there. We’re all getting there together, and I LOVE having you alongside me in this battle through life, even if we know the war’s been won, and Love wins, and all said and done, we don’t need to worry too much about the grander scheme of things.

      But those things.. (and this post started going off in a very different direction, but one which wasn’t right for this) – grace, forgiveness, mercy…those are the things I’m struggling to give to the person I used to be, because I fear I still am her, and have NO desire to be anything like her.

      So I go round in circles. But I’ll get there. If my circles can spiral upwards as I’m supported and encouraged by people like you, my lifeboat/lighthouse/super-special-amazing-wonderKitty, I shall surely get there. Wherever ‘there’ is. And on the way, I hope to do lots of GOOD!

      I LOVE YOUUUUUUUUUUU *knocks you down and tickles you til you cry with laughter, then snuggles you into a big hug*

      Like

  16. It hurt to read this Lizzi and to think that your own worse enemy is someone I can’t stand up for you to. You’re right though – she deserves your compassion and mine. I’d like to wrap you both up in a big hug and tell you it’s all going to be OK. And although neither of you will believe me – it will. And you will be glorious. Because you already are.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My dear Sweet thing, I just grinned HUGELY to read your comment. I really did. I love that you think I’m glorious (and I love that I say that too, about people) and…even though I’m not sure I can see it myself, that YOU see it is wonderful and I’m so happy you do, and so thankful you told me.

      My own worst enemy is my old self and my now-brain, and I know I need to get them both sat down and talk things through so that all bits of me can work together to move forward and not remain stuck on these old thorns. I’m sure the child-me deserves compassion but I’m still struggling not to be just repulsed when I think of her. Even the few-years-ago-me makes my skin crawl. *sigh*

      Like

  17. I love you, Lizzi, and want to wrap my arms around you and tell you how wonderful and caring you are. Much like Cathy’s comment, being the oldie, but goodie in the land of the young and wonderful, you have embraced and validated everything I put out there. You are who you are now, not in spite of, but because of your experiences. Forgiveness though. Can you forgive your Dad? Possibly understand, but forgive? That’s tough for me, at least. #LoveWins

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahhh my OceanHeart…THANK YOU! I enjoy what you put out there…I think you have a wonderful presence in this here Blogosphere, and I LOVE that you’re part of my corner of it. You’re one of my Village, and I’m more than delighted to call you my friend. Truly.

      Forgiveness is tough. I think I may have sort of forgiven my dad, and maybe the bullies. I’m not sure. I haven’t been very intentional about it but I decided long ago to sweep things under the rug and have the best possible relationship I could with dad, and now he’s also changed, it’s actually a really GOOD relationship, so I’m glad I persisted. He’s mellowed and turned into a nice guy. I think love DID win there, which is wonderful. I’m certain that he loves me, and now accepts me as I am (apart from never calling me Lizzi, so actually only maybe MOSTLY, but still, that’s a HUGE change from childhood).

      Thank you, always, for you ❤

      Like

  18. Lizzi, you are inspirational to me. There are times I’d like to be more like you. Forgiveness isn’t a very free notion for me. It comes with all kinds of warnings and cautions and barriers and baggage. A few times during my life, I’ve forgiven and been rolled and taken advantage of and abused, specifically because of that forgiveness. That doesn’t mean that forgiveness wasn’t good to attempt, but it did teach me things about the timeliness of forgiveness, and the context of it, and the observation of trust (or lack thereof) and judgement of character that I need to tie to it when I do it now.

    I recently had the worst thing that’s ever happened in my life happen to me. I forgave that thing and moved on. It allowed me to not put others in the middle of said thing. It allowed me to ensure the safety and well-being of certain people I love, and to be a source of strength for them. It was in fact much less like forgiveness than essential moving on and willful ignorance. But whatever. It worked.

    I love you Lizzi.

    I am proud to call you my friend. My life is better because of you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re an inspiration to me, too, Mr B (and to many, in fact). I love your honesty and how willing you are to share the things which have hurt you, and examine and explain your responses, to show others how life can be lived if you choose to take action which builds back together, rather than destroying further.

      I think forgiveness doesn’t always have to be out loud, and I never thought it means allowing the same person to hurt you again the same way. It must always be supported with good sense, but that’s so difficult to come by when you’re a kid, because you just don’t have the perspective or life experience to do it. We all live and learn, I guess.

      I think what you did recently, regarding that worst thing, sounds as though it was the path of action which made things work best for the people you loved. I think you did the right thing, even if it was the most difficult one, and I’m amazed and proud of how strong you are.

      I love you too and am proud (and delighted) you choose me as your friend. My life is also better because you’re in it 🙂 ❤

      Like

  19. In a way, what real, or at least good, choice have we but to forgive our younger selves? Whatever the path we have walked, no other would have brought us to where we are. Whatever choices we made when we made them were the best we knew and were able to do then. And, as for the future, it is there waiting to e created, hopefully with the advantage of having learned and grown, and with more wisdom, compassion, and kindness, especially for who we used to be. Writing as you have here is part of that. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Breaking yourself open like this not only helps you but it will help countless of readers, Lizzi. You are brave and strong, more than you probably even know. I applaud you for writing this powerful post and am doubly glad that I let you know how very special you are. A true jewel, that’s you. I am proud and honored to know you. Thank you for including me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cathy I was just so blown away by your comment, I really was – that something I’d done so long ago had left such an impact on you…that was incredibly precious, and made me realise perhaps there was something to it after all – the idea of taking the wrongs and making them rights. THANK YOU.

      And I’m glad you like this post, and I feel as though it’s already touched people’s hearts and given opportunities for reflection on people’s own lives and I hope that we will all find that we very much get stronger together, as we all look forward to leaving behind the nasty memories and redeeming the pain with goodness.

      Thank you also for your wonderfully high opinion of me – that’s a really special thing, and I do appreciate it. Thank you 🙂 ❤

      Like

  21. Gosh. This resonates with me. In act I relate to so much of it I could almost have written it myself.
    In my case a Mother who suffered relentless depression, anxiety.
    Bullied at school…yep. Though it wasn’t my weight they had a go at (I did a good job of weight bashing my-own-self mind…to the point of self-starvation toward the end of my teenage years). The kids at school never called me fat, probably because I wasn’t, actually… but they thought it’d be a good idea to label me queer… as in Gay (The word used spitefully as if it were the dirtiest-worst-possible-thing a person could be.) I wasn’t Gay, (though I do remember later having a huge crush on my best friend, and thinking, Oh, perhaps I AM Gay), anyway, clearly something about me needed picking on, and in the absence of any real reason to hound me…the bullies just made stuff up. As bullies do!

    Acceptance of self is something i’ve been working on for as long as I can remember…forgiving myself I can do. I think. Mostly. Accepting myself… easier said than done.

    I’ll shut up, I’m rambling, and have somehow (unintentionally) made this all about me o_O

    You, Dear Bean, are wonderfully made, loved and accepted by all who know you. Forgive yourself dear one (though perhaps it’s not you who needs forgiving!)… and keep working on self acceptance, it’ll come. It has to. If it were an impossible-goal, I’d have given up on it years ago. 🙂

    Great post, Lizzi. Much love. Kimmie x

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ohhh my dear Kimmie-bean, your comment means so much to me…how horrid that you were also bullied at school, and so mercilessly. I’m just SO RELIEVED that none of the kids ever labelled me as gay, because I think if they’d ever picked on that absolutely most fragile part of my self, I would have been in a far FAR worse place (given it’s taken me until 32 to be publicly ‘out’, and even then only mostly).

      My dear, I knew from the offset that you were (and are) such a wonderful, special, nurturing and encouraging sort of person, and I wonder if that’s because (like me) you know what it is to be reviled and torn down and excluded. I think we bullied kids have HUGE roles to play later on, because our painful memories are such powerful motivation to ensure that a) we never EVER behave like those bullies, and b) we make sure no-one else has to feel the way we did. You’re wonderful and so lovely, and I adore you. Truly.

      I’m glad you rambled. I love a good rambly comment, especially when it’s so important and special, and I’m so honoured that you’ve shared this bit of your story in response to mine. We are both fearfully and wonderfully made, and I hope in the fullness of time we’ll find ways to accept the people we are, and enjoy and appreciate the good we can do.

      I love you ❤ ❤

      Like

  22. Oh my goodness – this brought tears to my eyes because I can relate to SO much of it. It is so well written too . It must have been so hard to hit publish on this. I can’t even contemplate going there publicly on my blog and I admire you for writing this. It will help SO many people.

    I am 60 now and have worked hard for the last 30 plus years to overcome my demons. I am still ‘becoming’. Even now, I suddenly retreat from everything because I panic when something triggers the bad memories. I totally relate to the paragraph under the picture of the person pinching their waist line. I wasn’t fat – I was skinny and pale – but the self hate was the same. We had no TV either! We listened to the ‘wireless’ and I was the butt of everyone’s jokes when our teacher set an essay called My Favourite TV Programme. I remember sitting in class feeling sick and stifling tears as the pretty, popular kids taunted me.

    I never talked about the incessant bullying with anyone and I suffered very severe and violent night terrors from the age of 7 right through into adult life. I used to sleepwalk and try to hurt myself and my poor parents were at their wits end for years. I remember a very bullying teacher being challenged by them and was asked (at the suggestion of our doctor) if she knew why I was so unhappy. I remember standing there, so small and miserable while she lied through her teeth saying, ‘Gillian is such a lovely little girl, I don’t know why she would be unhappy at school’. It confused me even more because she was so mean to me which of course encouraged the kids to be mean!

    It took me years to understand that victims are sometimes victims because they are passive. I turned into a people pleaser but now, I am finally able to tell bullying people to get lost and guess what? They do!

    The problem is, so many people think we are full of confidence when in fact it is just a cover.

    Like you, I was shocked to get a mention from someone in that Facebook post you mentioned. It has actually given me the courage to get involved again and I am very grateful to Jennifer Rochette Koshak for jolting me back to blogging life.

    My husband has helped so much with trying to get me to see how many people around me really like me but it still scares me to accept that. Last Saturday was my 60th birthday party and I was totally overwhelmed by old friends (and new) taking the time to show up to celebrate. I had felt sick before the party, worrying about being in the limelight but in the middle of it all, I allowed myself to consider that these people were all there for ME and it felt good for once.

    Thank you So much for this post Lizzie – it is really important because it allows people like me to breathe out. x

    Liked by 2 people

    • Gilly…your comment alone has made this post entirely and completely worth the writing and publishing and wondering whether I’m doing the right thing. THANK YOU so, so much for sharing such difficult, traumatic memories with me, and for explaining why my piece is so important to you, and for reinforcing why it’s such, SUCH a good reason I wrote it.

      Your last paragraph has given me goosebumps – I *HATE* my birthday with a passion, to the point where I melt down entirely and can’t cope…because in those days, it made me centre-stage and an even more obvious target for the abuse and bullying. I was just lucky that my birthday was almost always in the school holidays, so I didn’t have to endure the other kids, at least.

      Teachers…I remember one announcing to the class (of a new technique we were learning on sewing machines) “Come on everyone, if ELIZABETH can do it, ALL OF YOU can do it”. I hate my old self and how passive and willing she was to accept the bullying and resign herself to that being her lot…barely even thinking about it – just taking it, again and again and again.

      When I left school, one of the other kids (who I had known throughout my entire school life, from first school upwards) wrote “I didn’t know you very well, but you put up with a lot”. She was right. I did.

      No more. It’s going to take me a long time, maybe the rest of my life, but I AM going to find ways to Become, and be happy with the person I’m turning into. The fat-pinching picture is of me…back when I was thinner than I am now 😦

      Gilly, I’m just overwhelmed by your comment and how wonderful it is, and how much I think we’re so very similar, and just…I’m so glad that you have your husband, and people around you now who love you just as you are. I’m so cross at your teacher and your bullies, and SO GLAD that you also got tagged in that thread, and that it made a difference for you, too.

      Hang on in there – we’ll be okay 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  23. It breaks my heart to know that you would think any less of yourself and the beautiful person you are. But, I get it. How you can be having a wonderful, valuable, lovely day one moment, and then searching for the coat closet the next.
    I had a wonderful friend tell me once to speak to myself like I was talking to someone I love. THEN, to find it was actually a quote by Brene’ Brown…it’s so true. Easy to say, to type…but difficult to do. You’re amazing, Lizzi – I pray that you see it someday. Xoxoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I have many thoughts on this subject of forgiveness. Ultimately your story resonates if that’s the right word with my own, and I think one needs to be able to gift oneself with forgiveness and acceptance of self. (hugs) beautiful post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • *hugs* I’m sorry to hear that, my dear 😦 I usually like having parallels with people…and yet, even though this is a bad one, perhaps it can be precious for all that, because it enables us to empathise with one another. Self-forgiveness and self-acceptance are lofty aspirations but I think we can make it 🙂 Thanks so much ❤

      (and hey, FRIST! :D)

      Liked by 1 person

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