After years of silence I have decided to open up about my life. I am writing this for me, not for you and for one reason only: because I was told not to.
I really don’t know how it took so long to see it for what it was, the emotional abuse which was my upbringing, but that’s the thing about abuse, you don’t know it’s going on until you can really step away from it and see it clearly.
Like when you live in a city, and you walk around in dirty air every day, coughing and spluttering, living with repeated chest infections, low level asthma and skin irritations but you think nothing of it because, well, everyone gets that, and after all, you’re nothing special, why should you get away with it?
I lived a life sad, crying myself to sleep more often than not, and hiding my feelings from parents who weren’t looking anyway. Now I know that I was hiding my pain for fear of the worse pain of them not caring, and this way I could convince myself that they just ‘never knew’ how sad I was, and now they can believe it too.
I remember I told my dad once, about 6 years ago, that growing up in our home was like living in a war zone – and he remarked that we must have lived in different houses because he didn’t see it like that!
Exactly! He didn’t! Because the war zone was in my head and in my heart…whereas the home was eerily still, silent, void of any conflict or emotion, because, just like a volcano, the rage and danger constantly bubbled just under the surface.
My mother, The Mountain, was a secret volcano. She oozed vitriol and spewed poison, allowing it to trickle, unnoticed down the mountainside, killing everything it touched, and then complained that no-one came to visit or appreciated the great majesty of the mountain!
My father, The Weather, remained oblivious to what went on beneath him. He blew in and blew out, he did his duty and rested, fulfilled his requirements then lay silent, watching. Sometimes sunny, usually cloudy, very occasionally there were storms, but one thing was always true: The Mountain blamed The Weather for EVERYTHING. Weather stopped the mountain being seen. Weather prevented the mountain being powerful. Weather stopped the mountain being loved and adored. Weather isolated the mountain, cutting her off from the world she so wanted to be a part of, so she dripped her poison from every pore, from streams and wells and watercourses she spewed dark putrid ooze and over time became known as Stink Hill rather than Gracious Mountain.
And what of me? What part did I play in this fable of natures forces? I was Park Ranger. I manned the weather station. I took care of the mountain and reported to the world on The Weather. But after every rainstorm the mountain oozed more poison and the ranger learned that The Weather Caused the Ooze. After each dry spell the mountain shrivelled and cracked and creaked and moaned and the ranger learned that The Weather caused the drought. Whatever happened – the mountain made it quite clear that The Weather was responsible and the message the ranger took on and broadcast to the world was Do Not Trust The Weather – or any Weather ever, for Weather hurts Mountains, it kills life, it poisons rivers, Weather harms villages and threatens the weak with rain, snow or hail, with heat, wind and ice. Weather is Bad, and cannot be trusted.
So as a ranger of this chaotic land I heard everything The mountain told me, and what is more I felt it deeply. Because of the constant repetition of this message of rage and loathing toward Weather, I could not see the beauty or the power in this ever changing phenomenon. I missed the sweetness of a breeze on a hot day, I did not notice the beauty of snow as it created a white landscape, and I failed to realise that every rainstorm tried in vain to cleanse the rivers which coursed down mountains sides, but that mountain herself was determined to muddy the waters, poison the rivers and show everyone just how mean and selfish Weather truly was and see what she had to put up with.
It took years and years of brainwashing by the victim-like peak before the ranger finally decided that she did not have to stay here and suffer this onslaught of sadness and sufferance. Weather was, as always, indifferent to anyone and anything and mountain continued to rail against the world, telling anyone who would listen how abandoned she was, and how nobody loved her and how bad it all was and they too grew tired of her stench and her foul watercourse which left them with stinging eyes, raw throats and unsettled stomachs. A visit to mountain could make you very ill indeed.
So ranger moved on, walking slowly, and for the longest time, she continued to ‘check in’ with mountain and keep her posted on her adventures. Weather, as always, was indifferent. But mountain only complained of her loneliness and made ranger feel guilty and sad. so she checked in a little less and learned new things about the world as she travelled.
She met other adventurers who knew of mountains which were beautiful, and supported many villages, and gave life to animals, flowers, birds and trees. Mountains which drew visitors from across the globe.
‘But what of their relationship with their terrible weather?’ asked Ranger. ‘Are those mountains angry and hurt and damaged by the storms and the rains and the droughts too?
And it was then that she received ‘The Great Revelation’.Of mountains which lived in harmony with their weather. Yes, clouds still rained, and wind still blew, and the sun shone and the seasons changed, but these mountains loved every aspect of their own personal weather system and lived in harmony with it. They nurtured their inhabitants and they were forever grateful to their rangers for living and working with them, for the woodsmen who took care of the forests, for the fishermen who maintained the rivers, and for the children who delighted in the beauty and the life which the mountains provided.
Ranger looked askance, shocked and then saddened she began to question everything she had ever known. So weather wasn’t to blame for everything? And there were happy mountains in the world? And they did not spew poison and throw sulphuric vitriol out of their gaping mouths, killing everything in site and clogging the air with chemical smoke?
It was the first time Ranger had ever considered that maybe mountain was responsible for her own misery, for her loneliness, for having no one to love her, and for weathers indifference. Weather, on the other hand was simply doing what weather had always done and had no idea of the lies and the tales that mountain constantly told about him.
And ranger knew, at last, that she herself could learn to be happy, that she did not need to cry each time it rained, as she had been taught to do; she did not need to hide if thunder rolled and lightening flashed, for she was not being punished at all, as she had been taught, and weather paid her little mind, and kept on rolling.
And Ranger herself learned that she had a new name, that she was more than simply The Mountain Keeper, she had her own trail to follow, full of love and light and fun. She learned to dance in the rain, and sing under the moon, and she learned that she was a woman, in cycle with the moon, not a man-girl void of emotions, as she had been trained to be, and she began to like herself a whole lot more.
Now I am no longer a Ranger, a keeper of sordid secrets, a damaged soul at the mercy of The Mountains lies, I am now The Writer, the adventurer and the Lover. And I am at peace.