I was reminded by the poems that I used to have quite the romanticised view of the world. Reading them I was moved by the sentiments and surprised by the depth of feeling and, to be honest, kind of impressed by the verbal dexterity and inventiveness.
A lot has changed. The last half a dozen years have served up a series of challenges, one after the other; financial, medical, emotional, physical, circumstantial.... all the 'al's.
In old school parlance - I was put through the ringer. So much so, in fact, that in sessions with my counsellor we have identified that I have manifested symptoms of PTSD. And it feels that way. Like I have been in the trenches, been bombarded. Worn down. Mettle tested. Stretched out and strung up.
I do believe I am making my way out of it. Some of the heavier blue-grey clouds have lifted. The notion of peace, of an occasional mild happiness is not implausible.
Reading the poems from back then made me realise how I've been worn down by situations and circumstances beyond my control. In each case I have mustered up my best defence, dealt with things as best as I can, tried to stay positive. But I never anticipated just how taxing the cumulative effect would be.
I don't think there is any going back. At times i wasn't sure I was completely willing or even able to continue forward. But now, I am rebuilding. Using what I've got, dusting off some of the old tools, repairing the broken pathways, patching up the gaping holes...
And in doing so, finding and accepting a different me, an older and wiser self, a survivor, a veteran. I have come to terms with surrender. I practice gratitude. I strive to be more of service.
And slowly, day by day, my hunger and my hope are becoming reanimated, revitalised. I have missed them. My whole being has been compromised and my wounds have still not healed, but I am able to walk on my own again, the will is there again, it's stronger now and my only choice is to buck up and stand up and try again.
I tried hiding away, running away, denial, avoidance. I tried suppressing the emotions, subjugating the pain, rationalising the wrath. It may have worked partially at the time but now I need a new strategy. I need to forge forward with what I have got, gather up the broken pieces, the dream fragments and the shards of idealism and see what I can make.
This is the journey of a human. This is life.
What a surprise.
In a way, I am lucky to have another chance. Not everyone does. Some beautiful friends have died already. Giving up is not an option I will again consider. I want to be there at the end. I want to write poems again.