They say you should write what you know, but I think it’s the things we don’t want people to know about us that have the most power to invoke real emotion and change because it’s at our most vulnerable and honest.
I have always written openly about my thoughts, shared my hopes and dreams, and generally opened up my heart to those who wish to read about it. However, I believe everyone has a side they don’t want anyone to see. It’s this part of you that you try to forget or pretend doesn’t exist, that you protect ferociously from all outside predators, like a lioness protecting her cub.
There are things I don’t want people to know about me. Because I’m embarrassed, ashamed. Because they are not self-depreciating, humble or ‘cute’. They are ugly and often extraordinarily absurd.
Moving house (which we are at the end of this month) always means clearing out a lot of things you haven’t looked at since you last moved. You know, the things that move from one unused drawer to another? During a clear-out last weekend, I came across my old letters and memorabilia documenting my life. Like the scars on my arms and legs that will never completely fade, these letters to myself mean I will never forget the pain and destruction I felt as a young girl. While they make for incredibly uncomfortable reading, they are also an amazing way to remember how much I have overcome.
Deciding to publish one of these on my blog was an incredibly difficult decision, one I’m not even sure right now is the right one. But, while I do not recognise the scared young 18 year old who wrote those words, they might help another young girl or woman not feel as alone or ashamed as I did.
Opening myself up to judgment and ridicule by revealing the deepest darkest secrets of my past is not something I have done with ease. Because I have come such a long way from the scared little girl I was, it is as a strong and well balanced woman that this is an incredibly humiliating experience.
Be kind, for unless you have experienced the demons that can possess your mind and drive you to the deepest darkest moment of your life, you will not understand how reality can become completely distorted by your own truth. It is as though you are wearing broken glasses out of which you see the whole world and the people in it.
Unless I change my mind (highly possible!), one of these letters will be published early next week.