Updated: Aug 1, 2021
“ ...the toughest moment of your life is when you have a lot of the answers but have to answer the last big one: what are you going to do with the information? "
There is an age you reach when you begin to see an explanation for everything about yourself. It’s at first enlightening and then terrifying, because you see many patterns and dotted lines to much of your personality that you did not originate. What I have always called “that’s just me” is actually the long adaptation to a perfect storm of child abuse, gender issues and family constructed low self-esteem. As we get older the pieces of the puzzle come together, as we learn what causes and builds on what. No one warns you that these explanations don’t come with a new manual. When the level of your traumas are a little higher, understanding their origins can actually trigger a deep loneliness. After pushing through the daily grey you’ve encountered on the side road it takes you down, after surviving it all, to look at how and why you got here feels as though you are starting to live so many, many years too late. And it doesn’t feel fair, and even success is not satisfying. Your brain and your heart are overwhelmed with new truths, finding ways to heal and desperate to join together to accept it all. I never knew there was a process to anything. I don’t know why my parents didn’t explain one thing about life to me, how to manage myself or money or to deal with one possible pitfall. I can’t imagine why they didn’t feel responsible for making sure that, one day, I would leave their home knowing I was worth something. I am learning to accept things about myself, but I’m struggling with the ones that need the most work. My life has been spent acting out on things I didn’t cause. The majority of adults of child abuse who kill themselves do it in their 50’s. The consensus is it’s “a mystery,” but I get it. I’m thankful for the part of my spirit that keeps me from being one of those people, but I do see that the toughest moment of your life is when you have a lot of the answers but have to answer the last big one: what are you going to do with the information? The damage is done, but you do have enough future left to enjoy other things. Then acceptance gives you one more mountain to climb: how are you going to find a new way that contradicts how you have lived out the pain of your unknowing years, recognizes your worth, and has trust in the future. At the age that most people are retiring and playing golf, I have a new responsibility I didn’t expect: me. It’s like adopting a 55-year old child. I have to try to understand the different sides of him, encourage the better parts of him, and most of all, forgive him when he doesn’t get it right. Raising a damaged child is not easy, but I am now in charge of him whether I like it or not. So I will help him. He has nowhere else to go.