And though a decade is a very long time - about a third of my life at this point - I can't say that I'm very bothered by that. I don't really look at it as lost time even though I could easily do so. I see it as more that I've taken the scenic route through my life: it's not very fast or efficient, but I've experienced so many things and in a different way because of the course my life took. And though that means that in many respects I'm very behind (though in many ways I'm starting to catch up), and I've picked up some unpleasant baggage along the way, there have also been a lot of good things that have come out of it:
- I am extremely, extremely empathetic and compassionate. I've experienced a lot of things that not everyone has, and whenever I meet someone else who has had the same or similar challenges I can't help but feel for them. Do you have a problem a lot of people don't understand? Do people assume that your problem is actually laziness, a lack of discipline, and/or that you should just 'get over it'? Do you feel alone? Are you asking 'Why me?' Do you wonder if you can possibly get past what happened when you were a child? If you answer 'yes' to even one of those or any number of similar questions - I can relate! And I feel for you! Even if your experience is so completely different from mine that I can't fully empathize, I know how to be compassionate and non-judgmental.
- As pretty much this entire blog demonstrates, I'm very, very aware of my own mind. I may not be in control of it, especially when it comes to many of my emotions, but at the very least I know exactly what I'm thinking and feeling at any given moment and usually why. It's something that I had to learn by necessity, really, in order to learn how to overcome many of my challenges both past and present. But it comes in handy in many situations beyond that. Being able to identify what you're thinking or feeling is step one to figuring out what to do about it, and while the steps beyond that are often more challenging for me than normal, I've also seen a lot of people stuck on being unable to figure out what's going on in their own heads.
- Amid all the struggles of my life, I've found that I've grown spiritually in a way I wouldn't have otherwise. I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (aka Mormon), and if I had not had such a hard time in my early life I doubt that I would feel anywhere near as close to God as I do today. It's not something I necessarily want to talk about in any great depth in this blog; the way my religion helps me is pretty much the same as it is for anyone facing any sort of a major challenge in their life so there's many other blogs one could read on that subject, and given how personal many of my experiences are I don't know how much I'd want to share in so public a format anyway - it's better as a one on one conversation instead of a long rant like these posts, at least to me. But it's an important part of my life that I'm not sure I'd have if I'd had an easier life.
- The often intense and deep emotions that I have had or continue to have are reflected in my narrative writing when I start to describe feelings. I don't often show that writing to people outside of my forum - I get really self-conscious about how good it is - but when I've gotten feedback on it I've frequently been told that my descriptions of emotions are very vivid. (Perhaps that's why people like the way I play Poison Ivy - she's a rather moody woman!) I do have a significantly easier time writing things that I can relate to my own experiences, and given just how much experience I've had feeling many basic emotions - both the pleasant ones and the unpleasant ones - I don't seem to have much trouble writing about someone else feeling the same.