Interesting fact: you can’t open old doc files from the 1990s in Microsoft Word, but you can convert them in Google Docs, to at least read what they once contained.
So it is that I have remembered all that the years obscured. I have recalled all those confessions of a tortured soul penned in the middle of that decade, when I really should have been at university, but was instead working away from home.
And so it is that I recall my true reality then. The reality of many things, albeit filtered through the mind of an eighteen year-old at rockbottom. Reading all that I wrote then, one truth is inescapable: the One in whose hand is my soul threw me a rope.
In fact, some of what I wrote then was quite prescient. Clearly I was being carried in this direction even then. In a script about my acute loneliness, I came to this conclusion:
“But I am not alone in my loneliness… I can feel my brotherhood with the rest of the world. The world leaves so many behind. But the many make up a different world.”Loneliness
There were common themes in that body of writing: rejection, isolation, guilt, regret. Feelings I had experienced for the preceding decade by that point, but which were amplified all the more over the four years leading there.
The last two years of secondary school were awful. Sixth-form was meant to be a clean break, but only turned out to be even worse. To blame, really, was just my face and posture: a look.
Of course, I came to believe I was harassed then because I was a wicked person, guilty of some great crime. But no, that’s not true at all. I wasn’t a predator, hunting prey. I was a softly-spoken young man, admittedly extremely naive, trying (and failing) to find a place amongst strangers.
But nearly everyone I met then judged me on first impressions, those impressions informed by a condition which would not be diagnosed for another decade. Learning of the common symptoms associated with that diagnosis in later life helped me make better sense of those events, but at the time: they simply defined me.
My skeletal frame made me a laughing stock. My face made me a geek and a nerd, unworthy of the slightest respect. My personality was too passive to enable me to stand up for myself. Hence more writing rediscovered this morning:
“I regret not smashing their skulls into a thousand pieces. I regret being so weak. I regret letting people treat me like dirt…”Regret
So in the end, when I had failed and failed again to be accepted by those around me, I set out seeking something better. That was when I took hold of that rope. That hope for the hopeless.
I remind myself all of this to recall what a true blessing I have been bestowed with. I would exchange nothing in the world for the light of faith. It was my rescue from an ocean of despair.
And who is better to rely upon than the One who created all things?