What is my truth? Well, I’ll try to quantify it. I’ve seen a lot, done a lot, had a lot, lost a lot more and gained tenfold more than I ever thought possible. I used to believe my truth was something I could find, that it was connected to a person, a thing, a place. Uh uh. No, missy, it is NOT any of these things. Our truth is inside of us, there from our first breath in this world. I didn’t know this until about 3 months ago. Now that is a long fucking time to not know how to find your truth. That’s over 30 years of searching and the whole time I was looking, it was already there – you can imagine, I was a bit pissed off. Hell, I was pretty incandescent with rage and contempt for the people who never told me it was there. And I was pretty fucked off at myself too – how could I have missed it? I’ll tell you exactly how I missed it – I had been told that this ‘hole’ I felt was meant to be filled with something else. That something was God. Yes, we’re back on this again. I’m really beginning to see how this concept is pretty damn destructive in so many ways. I have attended several different churches in my life, this is what happens when your parents are devout. This is one of the only things I can remember about my childhood. Seriously, until I left home I can recall very little. The things that stick in my mind are these: my first day at school, twice (I attended 2 different primary schools), a boy with both his legs in braces, a teacher looking after me whilst my youngest sister was being born, another teacher asking me how to spell something when I was 10, bullies and church. There is very little else. Oh, and the house we lived in, with a lime green dining room and yellow bathroom. Anyway… The most prominent of these are the bullies and church. Church was, when I think about it, pretty bloody awful. I remember feeling guilty a lot of the time, and I always KNEW that I didn’t fit in right, that I was different. And the attitude of certain people, including my parents, towards the bullies was directly related to church life. You guessed it – turn the other cheek. Who the FUCK thought that shit up! It’s basically a free pass for people to treat you like shit and you have to stand there and take it. To hell with that! Well, I can say this now, but at the time I was so scared of making a fuss that I retreated into myself. My folks knew I was unhappy, but I don’t remember them helping me to deal with this. They didn’t help me find my truth then, so I could be strong and stand up to these kids. All I remember them saying to me was ‘they’re jealous, just ignore them.’ This is the shittest advice in all the world. I’m going to make a statement here: KIDS, DON’T PUT UP WITH BULLIES – YOU ARE AWESOME, THEY ARE RUBBISH. THEY GET OFF ON MAKING YOU FEEL CRAP TO MASK THEIR OWN FEELINGS OF CRAP-NESS. TELL SOMEONE, PLEASE! DO NOT SUFFER IN SILENCE, EXPOSE THEM! OK, feel slightly better for that. But this was the mistake that I happened to suffer. My parents’ attitude to bullies caused me to suffer in silence. Even my father, who was bullied himself, simply said ‘I had it pretty shit, you just have to get on with it.’ Thanks Dad. NOT helpful. So, basically, from the ago of about 7 until I was 18, I didn’t feel able to find any truth within myself as I was too busy keeping my head down and trying to avoid the bullies. I’ve just this moment realised how bad this was. Why did nobody help me find my truth? I was so alone. It seemed that nobody cared. I didn’t trust anybody, let alone myself. Although, with hindsight, if I had been able to trust myself, I might have fared better. But then I didn’t have my truth, so it’s a bit irrelevant now. How much better things could have been if I was only taught how to deal with it. I digress – no truth + church guilt = nasty bullies who made my life hell. Eventually I dropped out of school because of this, I had no friends left. I’d only had 3 to start with. Then I started to search for the truth which eluded me. I tried various things. Went a little crazy. I now tend to flit and I am fickle. Trying to find your truth outside of yourself does not work. Believe, sister. I thought I had to FIND some outside thing that would reveal it to me. Nope. Not men or sex, not alcohol, not work, not study, not chocolate (although this is pretty good), not religion, not friends, not enemies, not success or recognition, not even having children. Only when you learn to love yourself can you find it. I still struggle to love myself. All the years of hate and pain and loneliness poured over me, drowning me, obscuring my view – or both myself and others – suffice to make loving yourself incredibly difficult. It’s a slow and painful process to learn this. But I AM learning. Learning that I am enough, that I may be damaged but the damage has forced me to forge myself anew, into something better. I am more than the sum of my parts. I am beautiful and sexy and desirable (those 3 I’ve never put on paper until now, the thought of doing so caused me to feel sick with shame). I am NOT ashamed of who I am or where I have been, what I’ve done. I am not whole, I’m still broken. But broken = beauty. Chaos = perfection. I love myself and I will live my truth.