Once upon a time, I was riddled with pain. Not pain of the physical sense, but emotional. After years of denial, I finally came out in 2009 about sexual abuse that happened when I was just about my son’s age, 10. Up until then, I had nearly 20 years of experience in burying the pain, and while it manifested itself from time-to-time in various aspects of my life, I managed to “manage” my life while keeping my abuser (my father) in my life.
My revelations pressed the reset button.
While the freedom associated with telling my secret was beautiful, the reality of a completely changed world struck me upside the head like a brick. In an instant, I lost my parents, my safety blanket and my worldview. I was now a victim, a 10-year-old boy and I had to feel all of those suppressed feelings for what felt like the first time.
I really was the most confusing time of my life.
Over the years I managed to piece together a new life away from my abuse. I gradually patched up relationships with some family members, and while it was tremendously difficult, I was able to relive those memories over and over until they made some kind of sense to me. While I was dealing with my past, I held regrets and guilt. Why didn’t I tell someone sooner? Why was I abused? Did I do this right?
It didn’t take long before my past started to affect my future. Anxiety took hold and then I began to worry about what was waiting for me. I worried about going to the police and what kind of outcome would be brought in court. I worried about people not believing me and what kind of judgement would they cast on me. I worried about all of the regular stuff when it came to finances, job and house duties. I worried about everything.
I became a mess.
Then I started to write. It was a silly goal to write 50 posts in 52 weeks. I had no purpose other than the resolve to write those 50 posts. I had some big trouble spitting out a blog post every week, but I chugged along. Then something happened, I began to become more present. By pausing to write about my most profound thoughts, it framed me enough to stop dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. By following through my goal of writing those first 50 posts, I found a new passion in life, a therapy that eases my mind every time I begin to type. Somewhere along the line, people started to pay me for my writing. Pretty wild!
Nearing my 40th birthday scared me a little. My body was starting to take the brunt of years of constant worrying. My waistline began to grow, my heart was beating irregularly with stress. I was eating just for the sake of eating, to comfort my mood. My lungs were starting to suffer. I had to make a move… to move. I decided to join a group fitness class after the recommendation from a good friend. At first, it kicked my ass, I struggled to keep my breakfast down and my head up. It didn’t take me long before I learned that my exercise routine was my chance to push me. I didn’t have to rely on anything but my body to move me. I pushed and pushed again, and I began to be fit both mentally and physically, my confidence grew and so did my life.
We often give up before we ever discover the real purpose of why we are doing the thing we are doing. One of my favourite quotes is from Theo Fleury who wrote: “Don’t quit before the miracle” in my book when I first met him. We are all too easy to quit when things get complicated and confusing, but it is through those difficult times where we find our purpose and our growth.
I started writing to gain fame and to achieve a goal, but what I found was mindful and thoughtful practice. I joined the gym to move a little quicker and preserve what body I had left, but what I saw was an ability to be present at a moments notice. In both instances, there were many times I nearly gave them up. I had excuses ready to give. But, somehow I didn’t. I followed through, and here I am, the happiest and most complete person that I have ever been. I have very little emotional pain left to feel.
Happiness comes to those who follow through, who don’t give up. When you find the purpose in everything that you do, and it can take some time, there is absolutely nothing that can stop you from being your perfect you. Life always rewards persistence.