Unless you were blind when you read my blog entry yesterday you would have sensed a moment of personal crisis has arrived over the weekend – and that I was trying really hard to manage the fallout of feelings that I’d not realised were bubbling under the surface.
This was until all of a sudden they hit me like a tsunami.
I reached target in February 2018, have been changing and turning my life around for the best part of three years now and even now there are still moments when the fallout of years of self abuse and childhood memories of emotional neglect pull the rug right out from under me.
Thankfully I have good friends.
Friends who can hear words coming out of my mouth that don’t seem like things I would normally be saying, watch me melt down and then STILL put an arm around me, watch me cry and spend time talking me through it step by step and building me back up again.
God dammit I have a lot of baggage.
I’ve spent so many years isolating myself from the pain associated with being overweight and deferring the fallout from emotional losses that sometimes I have no words.
The legacy of a childhood with a continuously abusive parent that couldn’t show any real love is a long one, and even now in my mid forties I’m STILL struggling to come to terms with the fallout.
The 16 year old me in this photo was someone I used to think was at a great place in life. He was young, had starved himself thin after leaving school (losing five stone in a period just a little longer than the summer holidays) and was suddenly receiving attention for the first time in his life.
I recognise now that he was profoundly damaged but too naive to understand how badly.
He just lurched out into the world like a directionless man child desperately craving love and acceptance.
I feel like the last couple of days have been necessary ones – because although I’ve gone completely off the emotional reservation for a short while it needed to happen.
If it hadn’t I’d still be denying that the feelings I’ve been packing down for so long existed and trying to hide them or (even worse) resolving my thoughts in complete isolation.
No man is an island – and while I share myself and my vulnerability with the world much more than most there are many things that remain outside my blog.
These relate to people with no voice or events that I can never talk about openly.
It wouldn’t be right if I did.
Their legacy persists however and I’ve hidden behind food and drink to cope with that for so long that even now I do not know how to properly deal with some of them whilst remaining sober or without eating the entire contents of my fridge freezer.
I’m getting there though.
Today my blog’s sub heading feels even more prescient than usual because I’ve been reminded over the last few days that I, just like everyone else am just
‘learning to live life‘.
Sometimes I get it completely and catastrophically wrong – and thankfully this time that’s OK – because I haven’t damaged anything that can’t be fixed and I haven’t said anything that can’t be taken back – which is a blessed relief.
I will say this though.
My mother did a real number on me.
It’s unwise to speak ill of the dead – but her legacy haunts me even now.
The lack of any kind of childhood emotional support or help with development of coping mechanisms has led to an adult life lived full of best guesses, huge mistakes and a laundry list of regret.
In some ways this has been good as well as bad.
My experience is all the more valuable for my hard won insights.
When I’ve learned a lesson, even though it’s been painful to get there it means something in a way that it might not do if I’d just followed instruction.
As I mentioned to a lovely lady that came to visit me the other day (who really lifted my spirits as we twalked along the Kenilworth Greenway) there is no mileage living in the past.
My mother lived there all her life and her bitterness was all that was left by the time she finally died. When she did it was alone and surrounded by people paid to look after her instead of a loving family.
Her legacy though – for all the heartache it caused is still in many ways a positive one.
She may not have helped me be a good man, and she may not have demonstrated how to love and be loved in return – but she showed me the end game of a life lived like hers was.
Without ever trying to she made me want more for myself.
I’m not fixed. Not by any stretch of the imagination – but I’m learning how to live my life and I’m both asking for and accepting the help of people that care about me.
That’s all we can do I think.
Work through our pain, and wherever possible share it in forums like this so that others might see their own isolation or difficulties aren’t unusual or shameful.
They’re not broken or damaged like we so often tell ourselves we are.
They’re just human beings trying to find their way through life, love, self esteem, friends, family and everything else that fills your day.
It’s all unwritten, and I maintain that we’re exactly as good as we believe we can be. We can only try to have faith in our capacity to change and grow, do our best, help others and learn from our mistakes.
I feel good today.
Another life milestone has been reached and I think I’ve grown a little.