Rewrite.. I remember the first time I didn’t want to rewrite my life, the moment when what had been my foundational years seemed worth living through. As I looked at that teen looking at me, so helpless because her parent’s behavior was confusing and hard to understand. I had known about that parent for awhile, and seen the erratic behavior and fluctuating moods, I noticed the manic seasons of extreme buying, hooking up with various people, extreme happiness, followed by the anger, the self-medicating, the crashes, the blaming of the teen for all things wrong in their life.
I knew that world all too well. I knew the world where you learn to read people’s eyes to know if they are safe, or telling the truth. I learned to read rooms; to play the role; to keep the peace. I learned to read whether it would be a good day or week, or see the need to tiptoe and try to not be around. I knew because I had been there. I had always wanted to rewrite that part of my story and edit out the mental illness from our home. I had dreamt of narratives that did not involve me being able to identify with mental illness so personally, and know the instability caused by lack of education, help, and treatment.
In that moment as I looked into my confused and hurt friend’s eyes I was finally thankful that I knew those feelings. Because of her story being similar to mine, I was able to reassure her that she was not crazy and the fault of all things bad in her home. I was able to explain mental illness and what happens when it is not identified and treated, and how it can play out. I was able to give hope because I had been there and seen God’s faithfulness to bring me through. I was able to pray for healing and redemption in her life as she lived her story.
In those moments of receiving my own story, a healing began that allowed me to love my parent with mental illness better. When I stopped trying to rewrite that narrative, it gave me permission to grieve what I felt I had lost in my life. Not needing to rewrite the story gave space for those hurts to heal and become strength. It provided space for courage to grow and help me to open up and more freely share those parts of my life. Even now it amazes me what God did so many years ago, and how over and over as I freely share my story, God continues to give gifts. There is beauty in the ashes that I would never had known if I had been able to rewrite my story.
*** I am joining #hopewriterlife reimagine 2020 challenge