It's been a while since I've posted on the Blog, but that doesn't mean nothing has been happening. Life never stands still. But this morning, unexpectedly came the question:
WHO DEFINES THE PERSON THAT I AM?
It's worth thinking for a moment and asking yourself the same question.
I came to the conclusion that, other than those born to superstars or super-rich, super-famous and Royalty, then it has to come down to Experience ... and in that I have a PhD! It's as if, since childhood, I have lived several lifetimes in the one. And looking back, I can't imagine being in those places now ... but then again I can. The memories are so vivid. If you climb through the portal there is still that aching wonder, that awful hurt, that stiflement (good word that!), which grabs hold and takes you back through the hall of memories. Like a hall of mirrors, you can see yourself reflected in so many different ways.
As a child, I was defined as 'The Cripple on the Street'. However much I tried to undo that definitiion or try to be otherwise, it didn't happen for me. And that period of my life ultimately remained fragmented, broken. Somehow I held on to the belief that I had been made this way for a reason ... there had to be a reason, please God, or else what was I doing on earth, having to live my life this way?
I guess my song recently published in the first ever issue of JESUS CHILD Christian magazine entitled JUST AS I AM sums up my feelings well. It was who I was at the time, coupled with the fact that Dad entered the ministry and became a Rev. And my label changed to 'Minister's Daughter'.
* * * *
I became a battered girlfriend/battered wife. My life became even more fragmented and broken than it was in the beginning. At least then the pain had some relief ... escaping through the portals of books and writing and imaginary games where home was a castle, safe and secure, and nothing was as it seemed. Like magic it could all just disappear to some other place. But in domestic violence there was no respite. You clawed your way through each day, desperate to recognise danger signs and survive. It was an ongoing battle. And I became defined as 'The Battered Wife' Later, that definition resurfaced as my first books were published under SELF HELP/ABUSE and I moved on to become Founder/Director of LIFELINE, a new national UK charity working with families in abuse, and ultimately an Abuse Consultant specialising in Child Sexual Abuse.
* * * *
Home has always been special.
Home has always been, rather than a place, where I am loved and respected and accepted for the person I really am without having to pretend. Mum and I became soulmates as I shared my past pain. She worked with me on LIFELINE when my parents came to live with me on retirement. And I had the privilege of having Mum not just as a birth mother, but also as a best friend, sharing the delights of womanhood, her past, and what defined her.
This came to mean all the more to me when I gave birth to the child I was told I could never have and recently a book including conversations you can have with a something-year-old was published through FeedARead.com, highlighting the joy of these years: DOLLY MIXTURES: The Magic of Childhood. Through my daughter, I became Child again .... an unfragmented child enjoying everything those golden years had to offer.
* * * *
Through work in later years once Jo was grown up and left home, unexpectedly I took back on the role of A Person with Disabilities. It was an extraordinary feeling. Suddenly my strength lay in being able to teach others, to create a wider awareness of what disability really means on a day-by-day basis. As a Disability Co-ordinator in the Midlands I worked with a multitude of groups, undertook surveys, brought people together through self-help groups and Disability Road Shows. I wasn't afraid any more to be labelled disabled. And that was a huge hurdle overcome.
This year, in the Queen's Jubilee Year and the year when the Olympics and ParaOlympics came to London and the UK, I watched the strength of those athletes ... admired their strength of mind and courage ... that easily came across. In my growing years disability wasn't talked about. There was a swathe of silence that surrounded me. None of my questions were ever answered, not even when I went into hospital for the five unsuccessful experimental operations. I had no idea what was happening to me, much less be able to share the secrets presented to the child at that time from the age of four by an abusive specialist. It took me many tens of years before that secret surfaced and was addressed in BETRAYED, published by FeedARead.com in January this year. It was my way of taking back control from all those years ago.
* * * *
The book BETRAYED brought me back full circle and put my house in order.
In February Tony and I became engaged. I can now adopt the definition of FIANCE, and look forward to our wedding day when not just my role but also my name changes again. I have never been so free or so happy. Home has come back to being where the heart is, at the point where Tony and I meet. Despite our financial struggles and my degenerative health problems, the layers of control fall away. I am free for the first time in my life to truly be the person I was always meant to be. At the same time, I can use all those crumpled feelings of the past in my writings ... which are now many and varied. Nothing is wasted or lost. For me still, the old adage still stands: out of every negative must come a positive, and the greater the negative, the greater that positive must be.
As I continue to publish books, I can define myself as an AUTHOR.
As I wait for another song to be published, I can define myself as a SONG WRITER.
I also have an article with the same magazine, defining me as WRITER
The walls of our home are decorated with my art, so I guess I can still claim the title ARTIST.
Sadly my keyboard sits idle in a corner, and has done for some years, although I am a MUSICIAN.
I have been SECRETARY of the RAF 100 Group Association for many years now.
I am also EDITOR of the RAF 100 Group magazine, which is a huge privilege and honour..
I remain a FIANCE until such time as Tony is back in work and we have enough to get married.
I remain a MOTHER and delight in hearing from my daughter who travels the world. I am so proud.
And finally, given my parents have passed on, I am the elder SISTER of three girls.
Next year will be my 60th birthday. I wonder what will be my dreams and aspirations then? And how might my definition of the person I am have changed?