My life is never normal. I rebel against normal. I throw mud at normal. I run for the hills if I so much as glimpse normal in the distance.
But this is weird, even for me. Right now I'd love a little bit of normal, and think I need it.
And I don't think I'm the only one. The world seems topsy turvy right now and its throwing so many of us off our
normal usual axis. Maybe its the crazily warm winter we've had. Maybe its the coming of spring with such a rush. Maybe its the solar flares. Maybe, maybe, maybe.
I had a feeling, right back in January, that this year was going to shake things up a bit. A bit? I must have been wearing my crown as the Queen of Understatement for that one! You only have to skip merrily through blog land at the moment to see that there are an awful lot of us who are undergoing some process of change, or self discovery (often painful and harsh). Some greater force is at work here, forcing us to take a long, hard look at ourselves and I, for one, am finding it uncomfortable.
For me, the process began about a month or so ago with strange and vivid dreams of my past. Now just the fact that I remembered them was strange enough, as I often don't and when I do they tend to be just fleeting images taken out of context, but these? These were strong and haunting, staying with me throughout the day, never quite drifting from sight no matter how hard I tried.
I dreamt of people and places I haven't seen in decades yet the memories were fresh and clear as if created only yesterday. Its as though some strange shadow has stalked through my mind, rummaging through cupboards, emptying boxes, smashing padlocks off heavy chests and tipping out the contents for me to pick through, re-live and analyse in minute detail. Every aspect of my life, my past, has been looked at, my successes and failures, my joys, my mistakes. Only my childhood seems to have been spared in this random riffling though my experiences. So far it seems only to have taken me back to my teens, and my late teens at that.
It seems to be since I was let loose on the world as an independent adult that things went haywire, and they are the experiences I'm being forced to reevaluate. First boyfriends (the good, the bad, the ugly and the very ugly), friendships lost by the wayside, motherhood, abuse, love, death, rape... There have been highs and lows, exquisite joy and heart wrenching pain, suffocating fear and blessed happiness. I feel like I've been fed through my grandma's mangle!
It wouldn't have been so bad if it had just been confined to dreams but I'm actually living this. Some things have remained in dreamland, examined by my psyche and dismissed as of only minimal importance, others...Oh my! Others have been dragged out and paraded all around town, or at least that's how it feels.
It has been almost 12 years since I was raped. On my own doorstep, at knife point, in daylight. Now I'd be a liar if I said that didn't really screw me up for a while. It left me feeling I wasn't safe anywhere, at anytime. And when the police turned up on my doorstep saying 'actually, we think it may have been someone you know,' I felt I wasn't safe with anyone either. You wouldn't believe all the stupid things that go through your head at that point and my circle of friends diminished down to nothing. Not that I felt any of them were responsible in any way. I knew the police were convinced my ex-husband was involved somehow. And that is where I made my big mistake. I put the brakes on the investigation; I didn't want it going any further for the children's sake. I didn't want them even having a hint that their father could be responsible for such a thing, but by doing so it meant I never knew the truth. And that's when your mind really starts playing tricks with you. Its easy to see now, but at the time...At the time I was swallowed up by a world of confusion.
I thought I'd learnt everything I needed to from all that. I moved on. I swallowed my fears. I had a choice, you see. I could hide away under the duvet and pray the world had disappeared the next time I looked, or I could come out with all guns blazing. I took the second option and went back to college and on to university.
And over time I worked the most powerful bit of magic I have ever worked. I turned the negative into a positive. I could, with a smile on my face, say 'The rape? Oh that was a good thing.' I couldn't turn back time and erase it, so I made it work for me. I had thought I was going to die that day and it made me realise that life is short, maybe shorter than you expect, and if you have any regrets they are not the things you have done, but all the things you haven't. It was that which fuelled my desire to return to college, so if it hadn't happened I wouldn't have gone to uni, wouldn't have escaped to London away from it all, wouldn't have had the most amazing job in the world.... Do you see how my mind was working?
But now it seems it is not done with me. There is more. What more do I have to learn? What did I miss?
Actually, I know the answers. I'm just trying really hard to ignore them.
Its time to strip away the veneer of recovery and actually, well, recover.
Easier said than done.