This is a difficult post for me to write. I've been humming and hawing about it since last night, what I might write. It's not that my life hasn't had turning points, they are remarkably easy to see, but some things are hard to talk about. I decided to, though, because I want to be able to talk about hard things in a more matter-of-fact way, and not feel like I have to keep secrets. I also know that my experiences (all of them really) are quite common, although some have made me feel outside the human community and very "strange". Here are the major turning points in my life:
* The first, most important, turning point came when my grandfather decided to sexually molest me when I was quite young. I have always had a memory of him doing this when I was 4, around the time his son, my Uncle David, died at the age of 24 of a heart attack. I think now that this was only one of the easiest memories for me to hold, but that there were other more disturbing times, perhaps at younger ages as well. My psyche can only handle so much information at a time, and it comes back to me slowly over the years. I can't tell you how heart-breaking and terrifying these experiences are. I am without adequate words or images. My grandfather was one of my most loved people as a very young child. I was then very afraid that he would do the same to my younger sister, and I think he did. I have felt haunted by deep grief for much of my life. Sometimes I think this is all I really need to say about my life, everything has been formed in reaction to it, with not much room for other growth. This is true to some extent. It has also been the impetus for a struggle to live that has given me much wisdom, depth, humour, love and joy.
* Another turning point came in my early 20's when I decided to go to university. When I was finishing high school, university didn't seem an option for a lower middle class girl like me, so I chose college, and became a paralegal. When that obviously didn't fit me too well, I quit my job and worked at a camp, outdoors much of the time. This was my first experience of something that suited me. I then moved to Victoria and began university, starting in creative writing, moving to Environmental Studies, and ended up with a degree in Women's Studies from York University. University helped teach me to think critically, and gave me a new place in the world, outside of suburbia. Thank god.
* Starting therapy. I worked with (mostly) the same therapist for about 12 years, both individually and in groups. Those groups, and that therapist, re-parented, re-connected and did something magical to my soul. It was essential and gave me such a base to work from. That community (many people from my groups also became friends) provided me with a huge source of support for so long. I thought it would last forever, but only parts exist now.
* Just a couple years or so after starting therapy, I met the partner I would have for the next 12 years. My life literally became much, much better right away. More fun, more engaged, more everything. Thanks Ted :)
* Having children blasted away my "easy" 20's and catapulted me into the biggest love and challenge I could have dreamed up. The journey continues. I could say so much more, but will keep it for another time.
* The next turning point came when Ted and I decided to separate when our children were ages 5 and 2. Freedom, joy, terrifying loneliness, and anguish over the children's experiences. It also coincided with my community I had had for so long shifting. I have been more alone these past 3 years than I could have imagined being again.
* Discovering Expressive arts/therapy. I wondered about including this one, along with so many major life events, but it seemed right to. I have discovered such a depth of joy, expression, and life in expressive arts in the last couple of years.
There are many other, smaller, but still important turning points I could add, but I wanted to outline the major ones this time.
Whew! I did it. Thanks for listening.