ashamed, bad relationship choices, belly dancing, crescendo of disaster, epilogue, indelibly ragged scars, Meditation, naivety, rock bottom, six sheets to the wind, snaggle-toothed, Wake up, Yoga
[Read part 1, part 2, part 3 & part 4 first]
There is and never was anything I could do about it – then or now. I could never really remember enough to feel traumatised, just vaguely disturbed. Also… I tell myself there’s a possibility that I enjoyed and participated in whatever happened, six sheets to the wind and complete memory failure notwithstanding.
Sure I was vulnerable and stupidly so, given I’d allowed myself to be isolated like that. But they’d paid for a service and perhaps as far as they were concerned, they simply got their money’s worth?
I can only acknowledge those things – that they happened. That I was once a very scared and sad young girl who grew up in a family that did their best given their own long-standing wounds. And that I was woefully under-prepared and paid a very steep price for my wilfulness.
But I think I did my best too, despite my naivety. Fiercely independent and yet operating without a sense of self-worth or the necessary cynicism required to protect myself from the world I insisted on participating in.
If I’d written about this even just a couple of years ago, I don’t think I could’ve looked at what happened in the way I do now.
And though I don’t believe that something positive always has to come out of every negative experience (why should it?), I can see that hitting absolute rock bottom, completely losing all sense of who I thought I was and what I thought life was meant to be about… well, that pried open a lot of doors that’d previously been dead-bolted shut.
I can’t honestly draw a straight line from my early experiences as a mixed up kid, through to being assaulted and terrorised and sinking deeply into a very painful time emotionally and mentally. But perhaps there’s a dotted line or two there with a few bends and swirls? And I can look at the crescendo of disaster I was faced with and think… well, perhaps this WAS the biggest flag that could be waved in my face asking me to STOP.
Just stop doing and thinking in the ways I had been. Stop treating myself with so little love and respect. And, if I wasn’t going to make those changes for myself, if I couldn’t see how to make that happen or even see the need… why then I was gonna get some help, like it or not. Unfortunately, the sort of help I needed was to tear everything down, take it all a part and re-build.
For so many years I was desperately ashamed of myself. Of what’d happened to me. Of the choices I’d made. And although the outcomes of my wildness were relatively minor they still marked me with indelibly ragged scars. I could see them even if no one else could and they are still there today, even if they mean different things now… (I’m sorry to report, there’s another as yet untold story here which occurred a couple of years after this one. More to tell some time I guess! Later, but not now…)
For most of my life, I felt compelled to come clean with those closest to me – friends and lovers. But it was always storytelling with a tightly regulated filter. For my lovers I’d play up the sexy angle, making it sound fun and flirty (the reality was never anything like that!) and mostly they didn’t try to learn more than what was offered. For friends, I skimmed over certain facts and framed it as being very much in the past. But it wasn’t you know – guilt and shame persistently claimed space in my lungs and refused to let me breathe clean, untainted air.
Inhale regret and confusion… exhale humiliation and low self-worth…
While I only told partial tales, I’d delude myself into believing I’d been brutally honest and that people accepted me as I was, warts and all. I think I came close to telling the full story only once. It was probably the “lite” version though, with the less savoury parts tagging along silently.
So believe it or not – this is actually the very first time I’ve ever delivered the no-holds-barred-objectionably-ugly-I’m-soooo-not-the-hero story, as closely as I can recall. And, the only reason I feel I can do that is my somewhat snaggle-toothed veil of anonymity.
What’s brilliantly clear to me now is that I allowed my messed up teenage years to set the stage for most of the rest of my life. I felt worthless, stupid (for putting myself in so much danger), unlovable (who’d want to love someone like me?) and confused (no idea what to do with myself). I knew I was intelligent but I didn’t feel smart enough to figure out how to turn my life around.
Instead, I ran. Ran away from home, away from my brother and family, ran interstate, away from mistakes that made me feel like a fool and most of all I ran from myself.
Luckily I ran in the right direction though and enough blessings came into my life so that despite everything, I’ve been fortunate. Like discovering belly dancing and knowing immediately it was something I’d be good at (and I was)! It gifted me with a sexual confidence that didn’t make me feel like a whore. And I met my guru – one of the single most significant events in my life, which gave me a renewed spiritual confidence that who I am is no different to the very forces that create this universe.
These events (and others) changed the course of my life and gave me some authority, independence and confidence in myself once again and/or for the very first time.
However, it seems I’ve almost consistently made bad choices about men and relationships. Perhaps it’s because I believed I didn’t deserve any better? For example, I was just twenty-four and in London with my soon-to-be fiancé. I was desperately in love but so very afraid that he’d leave me once he figured out I wasn’t good enough for him. [*present-Self rolls eyes*]
And that’s the same reason I accepted other relationships that were never right for me in the first place – because it was someone paying attention to me, telling me I was special and worthwhile, showing interest in me when I simply didn’t feel like anyone could or would.
Fortunately I’m beyond thinking such horrible things about myself these days (well, mostly). And in no small part that’s due to the process of healing I’ve been going through in the last few years… this whole thing has certainly made me WAKE UP!
Not straight away. Not easily. Not without much misery and pain, almost more than I could bare.
But I was lucky. All along I had yoga, meditation, an amazing teacher and gorgeous teachings that showed me there was a bigger picture where the crappy things I believed about myself and the world weren’t true. Even if I couldn’t relate any of those things to myself yet, I knew there was more to reality than my present experience. And that helps.
I can’t ever say that I’m proud of some of the things I did. But I’ve come to a place where I don’t judge myself or others in my life with such a harsh finality any more. I did what I did and I was fortunate to get out of it all so lightly. Yet there’s no point dragging around a palette of toxic greys and blacks, tainting my life with ugliness from so many years ago.
My heart is now open to both myself and other people! I’m not saying I’m perfect or enlightened or that I’ve learned everything I’ll ever need to know. I expect and hope I never stop learning, in fact. And who knows how things might look if I ever end up in a relationship again! Good grief!
But I guess I am saying… this is where I’m at. This is where I’ve found myself (in more ways than one). I embrace that younger version of myself. I accept that she did the best she could. And I know that for better or worse, her story is also mine. It might’ve taken a while to see relatively clearly, but here I am.
Hey Svasti… I’ve just finished the story.. how courageous of you to share this. In my view, your experience is certainly very unique and intense in a lot of ways… but I think the sentiments, the feelings might be shared by so many. At least by me. One paragraph that you wrote in particular summed it all up for me:
“And though I don’t believe that something positive always has to come out of every negative experience (why should it?), I can see that hitting absolute rock bottom, completely losing all sense of who I thought I was and what I thought life was meant to be about… well, that pried open a lot of doors that’d previously been dead-bolted shut.”
That is an occurrence, in some way, that I’ve experienced.. and that I think most people HAVE to experience to flip the lightswitch on. It’s like… we don’t know how our lives are going to crash… but if we’re not living ‘the way’ it certainly will…to force us to operate on a more conscious plane.
So glad you have found healing. I find little by little I find more and more healing with my ‘stuff.’ It’s like with every challenge or conflict.. one more resistance gets slowly stripped away.
Love + Namaste
@Kate – Thank you for taking the time to read the series. I know it’s a bit of an epic and not the nicest subject material! I agree, all of our stories are in some ways unique but there’s always key factors and experiences that are relatable to others.
I also believe that if we aren’t being true to ourselves, if we can’t communicate properly with our heart then we will come a cropper at some point in our lives. Most of us anyway (I have one or two friends who I think might just beat the rap via strength of will in their denial).
I’ve spent years in the process of healing and I think if you’re open hearted, it’s always going on. But yes, it took a really big and nasty event for me to be able to see my life with more clarity. And for that I am grateful 🙂