Writing my novella over the past two weeks has been a cathartic experience in many ways. The story is an autobiographical love story broken down into three acts. The first act was finished last night. For the purpose of self exploration the story is being written in a third person limited narrative. This has allowed me, as the writer, to explore the character that is me and understand just how dynamic I really am. To aid in the writing of the story I sometimes had to rely on a close friend to remind me of details from my youth that were both integral to the story and forgotten. Writing semi-chronologically helped in establishing the truth in events versus the perception of events. All of this has produced a life changing altering of my own self perception.
Growing up I had perceived myself as a victim defined by my past, my mental illness, and my solitude. To me the only truth that mattered was that I was unloved and unlovable and that everyone who entered my life would eventually leave. The excuses I used were that I was ugly, stupid, socially awkward, or too alien to relate to. This dark perception colored those moments when gifts were actually presented to me. New friends were pushed away. Girls were misperceived as pitying my station. Old friends were considered to be using me in order to inflate their own egos. Clearly it was hard to express gratitude in these moments as I processed “facts” through a filtered lens that either did not believe what was given or was misperceiving what was given.
Recognition and gratitude must be the key to unlocking the true self. Had I recognized the relationships and moments I had been given throughout my life I could have expressed gratitude and formed real and lasting positive memories. Instead the lack of recognition left me with an unclear memory colored by emotional misperception versus the realization of actual events. The writing process has forced me to recognize events as they actually happened. This cleared me from the emotional residue that clouded my perception of events. In doing so the door was opened for me to express gratitude for all the good moments I was given and that formed the man I am today.
Throughout my life, as with the lives of many people I know, I have suffered heartache and pain. Despite the pain there were always those who wanted to be around me and close to me. Even at a young age I befriended people I had forgotten. I had also explored the limits of my world and learn to think and act outside of the box. I had pushed for some semblance of normalcy despite not truly wanting it. Over and over again the lesson was to be grateful for the many gifts that I carried with me and over and over again I cast them away in pursuit of a life that never would truly fit for me nor was one I ever wanted in the first place.
My goal now is to take this newfound recognition of the misperceptions of my past and transform it into actionable gratitude. I am not quite certain on how to do that, but the concept of the gratitude being actionable I think is incredibly important. I can state what I am grateful for. However that is recognition and only the first step to what I am suggesting. In fact I would like to take a moment to recognize what I am grateful for right now in the hopes that the concept of actionable gratitude becomes clearer.
I am grateful for the many forgotten friends that I had made throughout my childhood. Thirteen different schools and I perceived them all as being absent of friends. I always made a friend or two even if for a brief moment. I am grateful to the sacred feminine for being a powerful presence in my life even from birth. She appeared before me in the Dream and then aspects of Her in the flesh became friends throughout my childhood. Many names are forgotten and that forgetting is now my only regret. I am grateful for my closest friends who each reflected differing aspects of the man I always wanted to become. I had perceived these friendships as a boy thinking I was latching on to the people who were nicest to me. I thought I was a puppy dog playing beta to all the alpha males. Each one of them reflected some aspect of the alpha within me and showed me a different aspect of who I always was, not just who I wanted to be. I am grateful to my church which had provided me with a safe haven and a home despite my feeling that I had never had one. I am grateful for the family that took me in from that church because, even though the fallout from that was tragic, I was reminded unconsciously that the life they would have led me down was not the one that I truly wanted. I am grateful for every opportunity, and I had thousands of them, that reminded me that the life of a normal man was not the life that I wanted to live.