We recently asked one of our former graduates if they would like to write a blog post for us. The response was a heartfelt, brave and honest account of the challenges she faced whilst studying, and the transformative effect coming to terms with one’s past can have.
You may find the contents and themes of this entry upsetting, however the story told is powerful and moving, and very much deserves to be heard. Please be aware of this before reading on.
The Money@CampusLife Team
I just found out the starting piece of my puzzle, on fathers day, a fitting time.I was a rape baby. A baby made in fear, guilt and shame and its followed the theme of my life. The feeling of being unloveable. I believed nobody loved me. I had good reason.
At age 5, i was sexually abused by my grandfather.
At age 10, I was placed in a foster home.
At age 18, my partner committed suicide.
I saw these events as a reflection of me. Life just kept giving me more and more evidence and the voice inside me grew darker everyday.
“Your own mother doesn’t even want you”
“These people are being paid to care”
“I deserve to be beaten because i’m bad”
“If I wasn’t here, everything would have been alright”
For years and years I let these thoughts fester inside my head. They permeated all my relationships with people, the world and with myself. I started on a mission to be loved by everyone but fell at disappointment each time. Nobody could love me the way I wanted to be loved.
I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t loveable. Everybody else around me had loving parents, friends and support networks. While I raged a one woman mission against the world and everything in it. I hated being told what to do, I hated anybody pretending to care or show affection. I hated being influenced. I plainly, just hated the world.
When I was 18 I decided to run away, being an adult there wasn’t much running that needed to be done. I was free to go where I pleased. So i packed my suitcase and headed away from my home town, where all the old memories walked around the streets like ghosts.
I went on a journey that I wasn’t sure I was going to finish. I wanted to know:
Who am I?
When will the pain end?
I felt that if I wasn’t seeing all the people who had turned my life into this nightmare then maybe I could just forget it all. For a while I did, I purposefully withheld details of my life. I pretended I was like everyone else. I had a mum , a dad , a happy family and they all supported me in my decisions.
The further I ran, the more distracted I became from my thoughts. The constant moving and changing meant my thoughts didn’t have time to catch up with me. When they did, there was always a bottle of vodka or a joint to help obliterate them back to where they belonged 3,000 miles away.
I didn’t find happiness in my achievements. I didn’t find happiness in my relationships. I didn’t find happiness in my holidays. It was always a surface level feeling. A resigned “ Well, this is better than the pain” but never a “wow, my life is fucking awesome” I kept this inside me. I felt if I was to ever tell people how I really viewed life, then i’d be carted of to a mental institute and they would throw away the key.
I started proving things. If I could prove to everyone I was amazing, THEN they would love me for sure. If I could prove I was intelligent, then the love would pore in. If I could prove I was fun, there would be no reason to think I was anything else. It was exhausting. Always doing things to prove something.
“Look, I can do it.”
“Look at me.”
There have been moments in my life of extreme suffering, the type of suffering where you just think, i’m done. Im truly done with this life and it has nothing to offer me. Pain has a way of doing that to you. Pain has a way of getting right into the corners of your mind and turning them inside out. Everything you once knew and thought doesn’t matter anymore when the pain is unbearable.
One night, I surrendered to the pain. Instead of being angry with myself for crying and being weak. I sat with the feeling and let it completely flood my whole being. I felt my pain and I didn’t run, i didn’t distract myself and I didn’t try and intellectually reason my way out of it. I sat there, crying to the moon. I was done living my life in pain. I couldn’t take anymore. I bundled up all of my problems and handed them over to whatever or whoever was in the sky. From now on, they could deal with it, because I couldn’t anymore.
Shortly after, a series of unexplainable events happened. People started coming into my life with a message for me. Something I really needed to hear. Something I had to listen to. Strange coincidences started occurring that catapulted me onto a different path. I started learning things I never knew about, knowledge I hadn’t come across before, wisdom I had never heard spoken.
My life changed when I looked into the mirror and I said “ I love you. “ It was such an awkwardly terrifying experience that I shocked myself at my own resistance to this simple phrase. I could barely do it, I could barely look at myself and I could barely meet my own eye. I started repeating this every time I looked in a mirror and it got easier, less resistance and more believable.
Then one day, just like that, I fell in love with myself. I fell in love with my life. I fell in love with the world and all its magnificent glory. I had turned a tap and the love gushed out of me. I couldn’t stop. I even started loving complete strangers. I loved the good , the bad and everything else. I started sitting in deep gratitude for everyone and everything. I began understanding that my life was a blessing, a gift, a present and that I hadn’t been put here for pain, suffering and torture.
I began to believe I am truly blessed, that I am a miracle and most importantly that I am love.
I went back through my old belief system and began ripping up beliefs that no longer served me. That no longer helped me be the best I could be. That didn’t come from my highest self. I did this with a level of tenaciousness that I’ve never seen before. I had been living with a host of limiting beliefs that actually weren’t mine. They had been passed on, taught or copied.
I started to answer my questions one by one:
“Who am I ?”
I am not a label, I am not my job, I am not my status. I am love. I am pure creative energy. I am a miracle. I am powerful. I am a creator. I am enough. The state of joy, bliss and happiness is our true state, our natural state. Hate, pain and suffering are caused by our own thinking.
A victim will use this line of thinking to justify their beliefs in thinking the world is against them. The world is against nobody. It is you against you. I believe I experienced these challenges in life because I needed to. That in fact, the things I once considered to be the worst things that have ever happened to me are now actually my biggest gifts. I developed empathy, compassion and forgiveness. These lessons are what have shaped me today. It is because of these events that I can now help people. I can listen to them and say I understand you, I feel you, I know because I actually do. I can bring light into peoples darkness because I once too was swallowed by darkness
“When will the pain end?”
The pain will only end when you decide to change your thinking. Its a choice we all have. You are telling the story of your life, you have the power to tell a different one. You choose everyday how you interpret others actions, how you interpret events and how you interpret the world around you. You and only you have the power to change this. Change the script!
I know there is more than one person on Facebook today that needs to hear this message. I know there is someone right now sitting there with pain in their heart, with suffering in their mind and doesn’t know when it will end. I’m here to tell you, pain doesn’t last forever. No matter how bad it gets or it has been, you can change it around. Right here, right now. You can start living a different story. You have the power and you can do it.
Do you know how I know? because I was you.
If this powerful and moving account of one students experience has raised any issues for you and you would like to seek support confidential, professional support please get in touch with a member of the Campus Life team. Details of which can be found below:
Contact Campus Life, Telephone: 01792 602000 Email: Campuslife@swansea.ac.uk