I am a sentimental person, I love looking at old photos, old memories, thinking about the things I thought I knew back then, the things I was sure of, the things that I found I had a warped understanding of. And it makes me do two things.
First, I think about what she didn’t know, what the 15 year old me in so much pain with no understanding of why, what did she not know. What did she do in order to protect herself but ended up damaging her even more. I have always been fairly transparent. People can often easily tell when I am not doing well, but this doesn’t mean I am an open book. Actually far from it. It takes a lot for me to actually say what I am thinking. I have friends now that ask me what I am thinking, and I still find it terrifying. They are out right asking me, and I still have the voice in my head telling me to lie. To not be completely honest, that they want 75% but not a 100%.
But back then, we were kids. We didn’t know when to push things, we didn’t know the deep questions to ask or what things cause a person’s heart to beat a certain way. Even now I don’t always know these things. But as a kid, I didn’t know who I could trust, even though they wanted to know, I didn’t know what to tell them. I didn’t truly know what was going on my self, never mind articulating it to someone else.
So naturally I pushed people away, I made it seem like it wasn’t that bad, I lied to everyone, apart from a few very close people (who even them I only gave 75% of me). I often wonder how my life would change if I let them in, if I actually was honest for the first time in my life.
But as a 15 year old I couldn’t do it, so I pushed it down, and waited. I pushed down every bad emotion, every bad feeling, every hard situation, every reminder that this life isn’t what it should be. I suffered silently, never being honest, never being truly me, or truly human. If you looked at me throughout my childhood, you wouldn’t think that is true. I am very confrontational, I am just aggressive (no passive aggression for me), my childhood was far from peaceful or calm for anyone involved. On the outside it looked like I was causing the fallout, but inside the was a turmoil that I couldn’t express.
My only outlet was music, so I learned how to play the guitar, and I wrote like crazy. And even though this helped to an extent the turmoil was building, and when it exploded I would take down everyone around me. I went to uni like everyone else, but I was like a boiling pot of water bubbling over until the water spills out the pan faster than my world was falling apart. I had no idea what God had planned when my mum and one of my best friends dropped me off in Manchester. If he told me then what would happen in the next 3 years I would have got a plane to Bolivia and become a llama farmer (yes I did research where llamas live in the writing of this post), just to avoid my life.
Uni came and all the pressure became too much and everything exploded, I stopped eating, just tried to get through anxiety attack after anxiety attack until God swooped in just before he was too late. I know God’s timing is perfect, but I often wonder why he waited that long. Why did he wait until I was so anxious and depressed that my personal safety was becoming an issue. But in his infinite wisdom he chose then, he saved me. And I would love to tell you after that everything fell into place. But I would be lying. Because It was hard, I knew my saviour, but now I had the added pressure of trying to do what God wants. And in my own strength I tried to do what he wanted, but I couldn’t, and I didn’t have too. Living in his strength didn’t make my anxiety and depression go away, but it did give me the strength to try and be honest. But this is still hard, and I think it will be one struggle I will always have.
I am still living in the shrapnel of that explosion, trying to pick off the pieces of my life and trying to make sure no one else was serious damaged in the process.
But secondly, I think about all the things I don’t know, all the things I think I have figured out. I want to have compassion for my past self, but I also want to work on there not being another explosion. Not letting things build up that much. And God is faithful, but it doesn’t always feel like it. It often feels like he doesn’t care, that he hates me or worse is apathetic to me. He isn’t. It feels like he isn’t here. He is, it’s impossible for him to not be here. It’s impossible for him to not love, to not love me. He can’t do it. He has no limits, but I do. I am sinful, I forget, I hate, I am selfish. I try to put on others what only belongs to God. I try to rely on them and not him. But it doesn’t work, it just makes me hurt so much and makes them feel the pressure to be what they were not created to be.
What will 50 year old Abbie tell me. How will she find her past, that is my present, my future. What does she know that I don’t. What will God show me throughout the rest of my life. There is only one way to find out, and that is to live it.