Thursday, 22 October 2015


Some experiences have shaped who I am that I'll have to learn to live with as best I can. Or learn to make use of, channel them into an area of work or creativity.
I had thought that you weren't, couldn't be, defined by events and occurrences, but I've come to realise that you are. Whether you like it or not. Whether you choose to open or bury them. Whether you use them constructively or negatively. Whether you claim or refuse to be a victim.
I've always disliked that word: Victim, regardless of its truth or if the alleged is the genuine article, for its overuse. In one way or another we are all victims. We all hurt one another and seek recompense for that hurt. Life makes victims of us all: the wholly innocent and the guilty offenders. At some point, we all create the cause and feel the rippling effects. There is no escape from that for this is a vast, deep pool, and individually we are only drops. Drops that flow and form a vaster ocean.
Does claiming to be a victim empower or weaken? It can do both, but I fear we are too willing to shout it from the rooftops of our house. Far too willing to use that word as a powerful weapon or a defence mechanism. Neither are easy to do; one demands courage, and the other destroys strength, but both chain you to that title, and once there it's difficult to break those binds.
I speak as I find. I use the 'I' in a sense to hide, preferring it to dreaming up a named character. Yet I know you're trying to guess right now whether this is purely narrative or the real me – the author. That, I am not going to reveal. Fact or fictional, it's observational. What this 'I' sees, how this 'I' conceives it.
Every single one of us has a story to tell, a story that casts our landscape. A tale full of twists and turns that leads us to our present, and where we have suffered crushing blows, euphoric highs and mediocre times. That landscape is our own and like everything surrounding us it changes, but mostly there is a default position in accordance with our outlook. Mine for the most part, and like my vision, is hazy, but is nonetheless rich and beautiful, and when the mist lifts it's glorious. A bright day with blue sky and a few motionless clouds, or a sky that captures my sight as it moves. And of course, the mist doesn't always rise, sometimes it gets denser and muddier; there's a darker mood, a gathering storm sometimes within, sometimes without, or sometimes evident in both. Darkness has to meet, has to kiss the light for they are opposites and equals, and all shades in-between.
None of us are perfect beings; those that shout are no better than those that hide or those that try to cope in a more private manner. My landscape may be ill-defined for the lenses in the vessel lacks far-sight, but the 'I' behind is not unequal or dissimilar to others.
I could play the role of 'victim'. I could wallow in it, pound my fists against a wall and scream IT'S NOT FAIR! Let tears fall unchecked, why me? why me? Or I could use that energy to help others. Or I could find a way for me to live and be at peace, without taking anyone into my confidence. I don't have this overwhelming need to share or to justify my actions to others. And nor do I wish to right wrongs or dole out historical punishments. What the 'I' knows is all that matters, and how that 'I' amalgamates or acts it out.
There is never a slate to wipe clean. What ultimately shapes the 'I' cannot be erased. The 'I' can pretend for an indefinite time that such and such didn't happen, everything's fine, but that can lead down self-destructive paths. There's only one person you have to make it right with and that's yourself.
Talk or don't talk. Do or be. Reform if that's what you need. And realise that the 'I' doesn't have to be a prisoner, a perpetrator or a mute witness.

Picture Credit: Hazy Landscape (view to Faroe Islands), William Heinesen, 1962