As hard as that notion may be to initially accept, I truly believe with conviction, that every painful experience is a gift, waiting to be explored and unveiled. I believe sometimes, our most challenging experiences, can be like growing pains. They hurt at the time, but there is a reason for it. I have a strong sense that shying away from challenges rather than seeing the opportunity within them, can stop us from wanting to delve any further, where we really get to see the gifts and attain deep insight into the truth of our reality.
The theme of my early life since being a three year old toddler, was like an underworld tunnel of drugs, death and crime that I remember beginning to understand by age seven, going to my first funeral, which was my mothers partner who used heroin paid for by theft. Along the way, I have began to see my youth as a very valuable time, that tested me greatly throughout experiencing homelessness, abuse, and psychiatric hospitalisation for nervous breakdowns, that gave me great freedom in the realisation that “I had nothing to lose and everything to gain”.
Being so isolated from family growing up, running away from one parent to anothers and then onto friend’s floors and sofas, pushed me out into a world of the unpredictable, where I found great comfort. It was here I took refuge in not being judged by anyone, because for one, no one knew me and I could not be defined by anything, not even where I came from.
My own extended family closed their doors to me in the assumption that I too would turn out like my parents and siblings, on drugs and untrustworthy…though I am grateful beyond words, that watching my family undo themselves, was my greatest blessing and driving force to care for myself so as not to lose my life in that same way.
Both my sister and I were abused by members of our family, which caused deep seperation, shame and isolation because of the rejection, blame, disbelief and distancing of family members. For me, this was deeply hurtful at the time, though the very thing that lead me to find solace and sanity in writing. I have kept journals from the age of ten, which helped me greatly in learning to reflect and extract the meaning and blessings from each chapter in my life.
Keeping a journal has allowed me to explore my own feelings and see the very power that I have had in the progress and acheivements born of my commitment to grow and evolve. Choosing to walk away from the drugs and crime that was so deeply embedded in my family through childhood, I turned to words, poetry and journaling as my therapy, recording my observations along the way, so that I could somehow make sense of it all.
While I may have experienced testing times through my youth, I feel that we all have our own unique path and struggles, that help us to grow triumphantly with grace in learning great lessons. Without such hardships, I feel life can be such a dull mental space through which one may slowly let possibilities slip right through their fingers, without realising how prescious it really is, or being grateful for what is.
Think back over your own hardships…look close enough so that you see that your very challenges are what opened you up to the world around you. It is the hurdles in life that make us who we are, inform our values and stir our soul. Look deeply enough so that you see that your most painful experiences are what gave birth to your gratitude for those little things that make the biggest of difference! Can you see the blessings now…that were hidden before?