"All my hopes and expectations:
Looking for an explanation.
Have I found my destination?"

Friday, 26 October 2012


Honesty has always been important to me.  I hate being lied to.  I can’t stand it when the kids do it.

I’ve lost friends to dishonesty in the past; being of a mind that “if they lied to me about that; what else don’t I know?”  The deep-rooted trust issues that I contend with make forming relationships very difficult.

Yet I’m a hypocrite.  I skirt around issues, refuse to open up and show all the guarded traits that would make me run a mile if other people exhibited them. 

But being honest is hard.  And I'm not talking about the day to day decent, truthful, “yes, your bum does look big in that” kind of honesty.  I’m talking about being truly open; nothing hidden, nothing suppressed.  Because when you do that you are making yourself fragile and vulnerable around others.

I had a secret.  I don’t anymore.  For the past eleven and a half years I’d held it inside, locked in a box and hidden from the world.  I was safe with it there.  If no one could see it, no one could talk about it and it couldn't hurt me.

Or so I told myself.  The truth was that by locking that box inside my head I was keeping the secret safe.  Not letting the world tarnish it, not allowing anything good in my life to diminish it in any way. 

I made a decision a few weeks ago to let people in.  To open up.  It was one of the scariest and hardest things I have ever done. 

Being me; I chose email as the means of communication.  If there’s ever a way to avoid saying things out loud and to put them in writing instead, I’ll take it. 

It’s cheating but it means that I can think longer about what I want to say.  I can change my mind halfway through and edit sentences; I can chicken out completely (even after getting it all out) and delete the whole outpouring before it ever reaches the intended recipient.  I did that a few times!

Eventually though, I took a deep breath and pressed ‘send’. 

I wish I could say that I immediately felt relieved.  That there was a weight off my shoulders after finally unburdening.  But the truth is I actually felt worse.  Despite receiving a reply pretty quickly and being assured that things were going to be ok, I was safe etc; I couldn't shake the feeling that I would have been better off keeping that box locked up.  It’s taken more than two weeks since for me to feel even remotely comfortable that my secret isn't secret anymore. 

But I’m over the first hurdle now.  And I can move forwards.   For the first time since I started coming to church I feel like I’m really supposed to be there.  I’m not an imposter.  I no longer feel like I’m hiding part of myself.  By opening up - even the little bit that I have - I have made a huge space in myself that was quickly filled with God’s love and compassion. 

I can’t thank Richard and Becca enough for their support.  Pastoral care via email and text message - brilliant! 

Honesty involves learning how to express openly to another person the fullness of inner experience, by setting aside all psychological defences.  And to do that, the emotional pain that caused those defences to come into being in the first place has to be reconciled.  The original pain may have been long in the past but social interactions and everyday experiences can lead to resurfacing of the pain.  The essence of a therapeutic relationship is to confront the pain directly, without running from it, so that it can be healed and transformed.


Holding On

I should have written this a couple of weeks ago when I was in a better place.  Hindsight is a splendid thing…  I could have written all about how great it is to finally have a job and be spending time with adults; feeling productive and open to all sorts of future possibilities.

But I didn’t write it then.  And now I’m struggling.  The last few days I’ve been finding it hard to cope.  To be honest that’s rather an understatement.

I hate the way my head works when I’m like this.  No matter what the situation I can’t help but focus on the negative; often finding one where it doesn’t exist.

Everything becomes a chore.  From getting out of bed in the morning, to holding conversations; even just being around people is hard.  All I want to do is get away from everything.  Go for a long walk.  Preferably to not come back.

It is at times like this that I am incredibly grateful to my friends.  For putting up with me when I can’t stand myself.  For reassuring me of their love and support.  For not letting me hide away.  Distracting me with jobs or by simply being there, quietly, allowing me time to sit and breathe and try to refocus.

“When it seems hardest to pray, that’s when we should pray the hardest”: I was reminded the other day. 

It is hard to pray when I’m feeling like this.  I bought a holding cross at Greenbelt this year and that’s helped a lot.

At the back of my mind I always know it’s there; and being able to take it out of my desk drawer at work, or from my pocket while I’m waiting for the bus – that’s meant that prayer has been a more obvious option than it used to be, as well as coming easier.