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  • Writer's pictureKiri Self

Public, Private, somewhere in between?

Kiri Self

Writing things down in the way that I’ve been doing, and airing my dirty laundry in public, seems to cause some strong reactions in people.

Some people love it. I have recently had an outpouring of messages of love and support. People I haven’t spoken to in years contacting me to say my words have touched them and to express solidarity. Some people have asked for more details of my journey towards sobriety - it’s a topic that’s very taboo in society but one that clearly lots of people would like to explore more.

Some people hate it. Understanding why I’m doing it can be hard for them. And even once they understand my motives I know that they still won’t agree with my decision to write certain things in the public domain. And that’s ok. The world is full of different people and we are all going to deal with things in different ways.

Both attitudes towards my words have been playing on my mind. Why am I doing this? It’s good for me to delve into this. I want to make sure what I’m doing is at the very least, for the right reasons, for me, at the moment.

Reasons. Why? Because to heal I need to find my voice and I need for my voice to be heard. Having my voice suppressed so strongly through my childhood and beyond, and for those occasions when I found my voice for it not to be heard - this is healing for me. It helps me more than I can describe. Our voices are suppressed in so many ways, even for me, as a parent I know it takes a certain amount of skill and patience to make sure a child’s voice is heard. I need for my feelings to have a voice and for that voice to matter.

I need to help people. To show that after all of the shit that I’ve waded through a better life is possible. And maybe that my journey can help signpost the way for other people. Honestly, if I can do it, anyone can!!

My downfalls have been spectacularly public in many ways. I’d like to be able to have a platform to explain myself in public too. I want to be able to say to those people who’ve seen me fall - look, I can get up. And this is what tripped me up. Please show compassion and understanding to me for what I’ve been through.

Writing things to a public audience allows me to be more compassionate to people in my past who may have hurt me. The things I write in my journal for my eyes alone - they are full of bitterness and vitriol. There is a place for that to come out but I want to find the compassionate and kind part in me too, and bizarrely enough this helps me to do that.

For me, I’ve made a decision to share these things, and I’m ok with that. It gives me strength to do something I know some people may disagree with. One of the problems I suffered as a child was extreme compliance in actions and outward appearance and to stand strong here and comply with my needs and wishes - that feels good.

At the moment, this is the right thing for me. Yes I might change my mind in the future. But that’s the future and I’m trying to deal with my now.

Can’t I let the past lie in the past?

No. For me, I’ve suffered a total breakdown over the past couple of years and currently I can’t work. My anxiety peaks and troughs - in the peaks I cry at the smallest thing, in the troughs I sleep for hours at a time. I cannot take any perceived aggression towards me - and that doesn’t mean the person is being aggressive, just that I perceive it as such. Raised voices scare me and make me cry. I have no permanent home and I don’t see my son. I have lost everything in trying to unsuccessfully suppress the past, and the only way out is to clear out my past. For me it’s like deep cleaning your house and getting in every nook and cranny. I am the person in the world who most wants the past to be in the past but for me at the moment it’s still in my now.

I‘m going to try to show compassion towards others as I go through this journey. It won’t always be possible for me though and I just hope you can understand where I’m coming from and where I’m trying to get to if the hurt and anger and vitriol I usually reserve for my therapist or my journal come through into here.

I am a broken shell of myself and I want to be whole.


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