As I sit here in my study, overlooking the beautiful West Wales countryside, I have started thinking about my books and my writing. Over the years, I have always written, poems, children’s stories and blogs but after writing I DID TELL I DID my life changed. I realize now ,that telling my story has given me so many gifts; has brought me so much, most of that, good and worthwhile and changed me as a person.
The first gift from writing my autobiography is one of freedom. For many many years, I have held on to my past, suffered from PTSD, panic attacks and depression, brought on by the horrors of my early life. I ask clients, in my other role as a Psychotherapist, to write things down. Read them aloud and then, either treasure, them or destroy the writings and move forward. I have never been able to do that, move forward, as my past has always held me back; allowing mistake after mistake. Telling my story, almost warts ‘n all, I was able to let go. So it was a cathartic experience and one that gave me so much peace and I think , helped my family understand. So that was the first gift.
The second gift and the most important one, something that gives me joy and happiness right up to this present day, is that the reason I wrote my story, to inspire and comfort other victims of abuse, worked. Then the gifts came in their hundreds. Letters, emails, messages and FB and Twitter posts. People who had read my book and were then able to tell their own stories, some even writing books. Some who could then get the help they so needed and some who were able to confide in family and friends, something they had not been able to do. This was a gift indeed.
There are those who say Facebook friends are not real friends. I say they are wrong. Who is there for you when things get tough? Who reads your posts and comments, either laughing at funny things you have posted or ‘Liking’ your post or private messages you, when they feel you would appreciate it? Who always encourages you and supports you when things get tough? Even joining in conversations between you and those who want to hurt you?Facebook friends. So don’t let anyone tell you that these people are not real friends. Friendship is always a gift, however it appears
Before the book was published, I met up with Steve, the young man I fell in love with, the young man who was fathered by my abuser. I met him again, the year before I DID TELL came out and learned that he and his family, had always wanted me in their lives, always wanted to have me as a sister, but the woman they called my mother, put a stop to that. Well, we are now very close, I have gained his family and the families of my other three brothers and that is one of the best gifts of all.
A re- enforcement I suppose , more than a gift, is once again acknowledging the importance of truth and honesty. I have heard truths from people after them reading my book; other people who have always made fun of my honesty, now understanding why it is of utmost importance to me. I have been told the truth of some parts of my childhood and some truths around people in my adulthood that I would never have known if I hadn’t told. I have also learned how dishonest some relationships and family were and although that still hurts, it is a lesson learned. So yes, a gift.
I have gained the gift of humility. Hearing of the suffering of others, learning of the bravery of victims of abuse, those who have had the courage to tell and those who only have told me. The many who have written after reading my books and said, how reading of the things I went through, have inspired them to do something about their own demons. How reading that someone else also suffered the same way as they did, comforted them and made them feel less alone.Having letters and messages from people who thank me for writing things that they recognized as having happened to them and feeling humble at these confidences. Humility is a special gift that we should all learn at sometime in our lives.
Pride is something I was always told was a sin. I disagree. Lately I had forgotten to be proud, made to feel less of a person, but need to remember the past few years and the gift that thanks can give you.I feel great pride when someone writes and tells me, that I DID TELL has helped them and encouraged them to work with other victims, helping them to become survivors. Others have been enlightened and learned of the pain and fear some children suffer at the hands of an abuser. They now support the cause to make all children safe. To teach others, in their own workplace, to listen to children, to act if they are suspicious and always keep the child safe. They thank me for my story. If any of that is because they are now aware that these things happen, when they weren’t before they read mine and other authors stories; then yes that makes me proud and makes writing my life-story well worth the pain.This was the reason for my writing my books in the beginning and so I am proud that in some small way, it has helped.
So there have been many gifts since beginning my ‘telling’. Many plusses and many new people in my life. I have had and still have the opportunity to spread the word about child abuse. To make people aware and recognize the signs in children. To support those who came forward and reached out to me. My second book has also brought gifts in the form of others affected by dependency, helped them know they can come though the horrors of withdrawal and have a good life.That is a great gift.
I DID TELL I DID, will soon be back on sale, alongside NOBODY TOLD ME, a new cover but back on sale I am pleased to say.
Last week in my blog, I thanked everyone who has supported me during the past few months on social media and I thank you all again. You came into my life because of my story, either I DID TELL or NOBODY TOLD ME and I am grateful to you all. You have shown loyalty, concern, support and most of all love. There is no greater gift.
Thank you all x