Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Post – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! by Harmony Kent

I am sure like me, there have been times when you have wondered what difference might have been made to your life, if your younger self had been gifted with the experience and knowledge you have accumulated over the years.

I invited several friends from the writing community to share their thoughts on this subject which I am sure you will enjoy as much as I did.

Today Harmony Kent shares what wisdom she would impart to her younger self as she struggled to find her own way in the world.

I wish I knew then what I know now by Harmony Kent

YOU DON’T HAVE TO BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOUR PARENTS TELL YOU

For far too many years, I swallowed and digested every word my parents said to me. The trouble is, I didn’t know I was supposed—or even allowed—to chew those supposed nuggets of wisdom thoroughly. As a result, I gave up on all of my childhood dreams, which included acting, becoming a musician, and writing. If only I had known better …

It took me thirteen painful years of self-reflection and self-esteem-building work to get to where I am now. Life almost derailed me with a life-changing injury about six or seven years into those thirteen years, but the work I had achieved up to then brought me through it. So much so that I published my first book at age 40 despite everything.

Even now, I still find things which contradict what my folks told me during my formative years and remind me to question what I believe. Things such as, “You need a flexible voice to be able to act. Nobody would ever take you seriously.” … Hubby and I have picked out so many current big-name actors who show the lie to the rule that you must have the ability to change your accent to become a successful actor. No matter how varied the roles such actors play, they always sound like themselves. On balance, while a few actors can and do change their voices to fit their roles, many do not. What I never questioned until my later adult years was why my parents never bothered to get me the help I needed to clear chronic glue ear and/or speech therapy to address the effects of a cleft palate repair and nasal speaking. Why, instead, did they throw all their energy into ridiculing me at every turn? Yes, to succeed in the acting world, I would have needed some voice work, but it wouldn’t have been impossible or laughable.

Time and again, even into adulthood, I heard nothing but putdowns from the very people supposed to nurture me. The only time I did something I wanted to do—change from general nurse training to psychiatric nurse training—I was met with severe disapproval. My father even called me while I was on a placement on a children’s mental health unit (oh, the irony!) and gave me a loud and prolonged verbal dressing down, where he hammered into me that I would fail spectacularly. To this day, I feel so relieved I didn’t listen and went my own way. This decision gave me my first steps to true independence. The second step came after a teenage psychiatric patient assaulted me at work, resulting in an arm injury and mandatory counselling. The wonderful woman who offered that short course of therapy helped me to identify that although I had moved a good way from my parents physically, they still controlled much of my life in every other respect.

From that point onward, I finally questioned our relationships and the things I believed as set in stone. Not long after the assault, I came across a Buddhist order and joined as a lay trainee. Within a year, I set in motion the process of ordaining monastically. Had I realised how tough that life would be, would I still have done what I did? I don’t know, but I sure am glad I stuck it out. Those years of monastic training and intense meditation opened up a whole world I never knew existed. Tough? Yes. But also invaluable. They saved my life and led me to question everything. Most especially, my identity. The person I thought I was and what made me that person. I saw from the outside, looking in, how cruel and rude my family had been toward me, and revisited all the things I could remember ever having been told to me throughout my life.

Only once I regurgitated those old words and tested them out did I realise how unhelpful and untrue they were. Only then did I realise how bad a taste they left in my mouth. Only then was I able to spit them out and rinse thoroughly to get rid of the after taste. Here is an extract from a longer poem, which shows some of that transformation …

The Monk

Rise at five
every day
hard

meditate
even while
you work

cleaning house
pulling the skeletons
out of the closet

no sweeping
the dust
under the rug

no sewing
the frayed seams
but instead

unpicking the
stitches
so I can fall apart

only then
is it safe
to put myself back together

demons slayed
balloon popped
drapes ripped open

I see you
I know you
you have no power over me

at last
at long long last
I sit

at ease in peaceful repose
tranquillity
and contentment

life is easy
I take it
in my stride

no more
do I feel
I have to hide

confident
content
the universe is vast

so much space
and plenty
of room for me

now it’s time
to filter
the pond

stagnant all these years
too full and silted up
I have to tap the wellspring

emptying
purifying
in the cosmic washing machine

just because
it has a long history
it doesn’t have to be a life sentence

and the jewel
in all this mud?
is that I get to choose my path

the water of the spirit
first frozen
then boiled

and now
in my veins
flowing free in fluidity

If I had one thing to tell my younger self it would be: “You are braver and stronger than you think, and so worthy of love.” Okay, so maybe there would be a second thing: “Don’t believe everything you’re told, no matter who says it.”

My biggest life lesson is that only I can prevent myself from living the life I want to. Even now, with illness and disability dictating so much of my day-to-day activities, I still have the choice of how I live with that. Of how I respond to that. Of the things I tell myself about my reality. I can waste energy and time bemoaning my lot and hating it, or I can direct my energy toward finding much-needed work-arounds to keep doing what I love to do. And to keep being loving. … Both toward myself and toward everyone else. Without first loving myself, I could never have found the love of my life.

©Harmony Kent 2022

My thanks to Harmony for sharing this inspiring journey with us and I know she would love to hear from you.

About Harmony Kent

Harmony Kent is an award winning multi-genre author. Her publications include:

  • The Battle for Brisingamen (Fantasy Fiction) AIA approved
  • The Glade (Mystery/Thriller) AIA Approved/BRAG Medallion Honouree/New Apple Literary Awards Official Selection Honours 2015
  • Polish Your Prose: Essential Editing Tips for Authors (Writing/Editing) New Apple Literary Awards Top Medallist Honours 2015
  • Finding Katie (Women’s Fiction)
  • Slices of Soul (Contemporary Poetry)
  • Interludes 1 & Interludes 2 (Erotic Short Stories)
  • Moments (Short Stories and Poetry)
  • Jewel in the Mud (Zen Musings)
  • Backstage (Erotic Romance)
  • FALLOUT (Apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic Dystopia) BRAG Medallion Honouree
  • The Vanished Boy (Psychological Thriller)

As well as being an avid reader and writer, Harmony also offers reviews and supports her fellow authors. Harmony works hard to promote and protect high standards within the publishing arena. She is always on the look out for talent and excellence, and will freely promote any authors or books who she feels have these attributes. Harmony lives in Cornwall, England.

A small selection of books by Harmony Kent

My review for The Vanished Boy June 23rd 2021

A parent’s worst nightmare. A missing teenager and a realisation that you didn’t know them as well as you thought you did.

The author has created a fast paced thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat, as widow Carole searches social media for clues as to where her missing son might be. She heads down paths that lead to even more questions, as the empathetic detective in charge of the investigation does his best to keep her updated on developments.

The circle of family and friends she can turn to is small, and as she slowly uncovers key pieces of information, she begins to feel even more isolated and her sanity is threatened. The physical evidence mounts up and turns her world upside down; trust in everything and everyone in her life is challenged.

The characters are relatable, as are the extremes of emotions and pain that fuel the events leading to the unexpected climax of the story.

Can you believe all that you see and hear? Or are you being manipulated by someone with something to hide? You will have to read the book to find out.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – Follow Harmony:Goodreads – Website:Harmony KentTwitter: @Harmony_Kent

 

Thank you for dropping in today and it would be great if you could share the post… thanks Sally.

141 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Post – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! by Harmony Kent

  1. Pingback: #LifeLessons: Don’t Believe Everything your Parents Tell You … @sgc58 – Welcome to Harmony Kent Online

  2. My parents were not like yours though Mum could be very caustic! The best thing that happened to me was Dad being made redundant and having to move out of the area. I stayed behind to finish my college course, with my grandparents for that final term, but even that step for 19 year old me allowed me to realise I had been seeing the world through my mother’s eyes!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Harmony, your amazing, courageous, powerful life journey underscores the importance of being ourselves. Thank you for sharing so deeply and so tenderly. Thank you, too, for the beautiful photos. And a big thank you to Sally for inviting writers to this site. Love to you both — 😘💕

    Liked by 3 people

  4. May I just say that you are a beautiful person, inside and out, Harmony, and this post is an inspiration for all who read it. Thank you so much for sharing your compelling story, parts of which are very similar to things I was told as a child, over and over. (It’s incredible how much damage those who are supposed to cherish us can cause, isn’t it?)

    What I admire most is that you were able to find a way to undo the damage done to you and work your way through it until you understood who you really are inside. You never let adversity–even physical challenges–stop you from becoming the woman you were meant to be. I’m so glad you know your real self now, and followed your dreams, finding true love along the way.

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. You’ll probably never know how many folks you’ve helped by doing so. And thank you, too, for being a friend to so many of us who may never get to meet you in person, but whose lives you’ve touched deeply. Love and blessings to you! 🤗💖🤗

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I saw a poster yesterday where five generations were next to each other. The two oldest generations were yelling insults, the middle guy was holding a shield, his son was empowering his grandson, and the grandson was smiling. It was so powerful to me because I have seen that scene play out in my own life.

    My great grandparents were abusive to my grandmother who then was abusive to my mom. My mom was never physically abusive to my sister or me, but she is a queen of guilt trips. My sister and I have chosen to break the mold. We both focus on our own mental health and healing old wounds, and we are raising our children with kindness and compassion and empowerment in hopes that their children won’t ever have to experience what the past generations did. Times were different back then, and parenting reflected that. I am grateful that times have changed and mental health is openly discussed and addressed.

    Thank you for sharing your experience, Harmony! I am happy you were able to break their influence over you and find peace and happiness in your life. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Harmony, it is sad when parents don’t allow us to follow our dreams. I am so sorry you endured ridicule, pain and injury but you are an epitome of grace and compassion. It is very inspiring how you turned your life around. Much love and hugs. ❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A profoundly moving story, Harmony. You’ve taken on challenges that most people never experience and come through them stronger and more contented. I loved the words of The Monk. My mother was another very negative person and it was years after I left home before I could see the reality of the situation. As Dorothy says, many people could benefit from reading this. xx

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Harmony, you seem to have emerged from an abyss of negativity into a new world, created by your own efforts! Kudos for being so brave, for never losing self-trust and for spreading positivity around you with your work. Thanks for sharing the toughest learning part of your life.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Powerful and full of a lifetime of earned wisdom, Harmony. To go that deep into yourself to heal, especially as a monk is inspiring. No matter what words are carelessly thrown at us, we must embrace what and who we are. Sorry for your painful journey but you light the way for many to follow. Xo

    Liked by 3 people

  10. You gained your wisdom in a painful way, Harmony! It wasn’t easy for you to break through and went ahead with your training as a monk. I had a monk as a teacher in my elementary school. She looked like nothing in the world could bother her. The training has made a tremendous difference in your life and given you power and strength to do what you’re doing. ❤ 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Thank you, Harmony, for your profound discussion about connections between generations. Your journey was not for the faint of heart and yet, as I read your words, I felt a sense of calm and tranquility that came through. Your journey is not over and I know that whatever came before has given your a special insight that will help, encourage and inspire others to seek oneness within.

    Thank you, Sally for creating a marvelous community where acceptance and joy abound.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Deeply touched by Harmony’s story and her bravery. I greatly value Harmony’s books on writing, which helped and continue helping me in my writing endeavors.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Oh Harmony, my heart goes out to the younger you. I know we both had tough childhoods, but it makes me so sad to hear how your parents belittled you and didn’t help you grow instead. I’m so glad you found your way (like I did on my own). And your story should inspire so many who no doubts are in this same sad situation. Thanks for sharing your heart with us. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Wonderful post, Harmony. Life is certainly an odd journey we all travel. I believe we are given the parents we need, rather than the ones we may deserve. Some parents become the very obstacles used to give us the strength we need. There’s a long list of those who succeeded in spite of negative parents (and others). We find the drive within ourselves that we didn’t know we had–often because of those very people. Strength comes from the struggle. Thanks for being so open and honest about your journey.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Hi Harmony, I would never have guessed you had a cleft palette repair. The doctor really did a fantastic job. I am sorry to read about your childhood. You know, parents can do so much damage to their children by not supporting them for being who they are. You have to love your child for who s/he is and not what you would like them to be. My nephew told my younger son last night that you can’t achieve anything in life if you don’t take physical science at school. Michael is not doing physical science because he has no aptitude for it. Those words come out of the mouths of the parents and what will happen if my nephews can’t manage science down the line. They are to young now to know. They will feel worthless.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. What a very moving story, Harmony – thank you so much for sharing it. I’m so glad you realise your parents were wrong to treat you like that, thank goodness you have now gained so much wisdom and understanding of your own self worth. Toni xx

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Wow, Harmony, I learned even more about you. Sometimes the things in life we face (such as the assault by the psychiatric patient) turn out to be blessings in disguise. In your case, it set you on the path to counseling.

    Thanks for sharing more of your story and I’m sure it will be an inspiration to many.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Fabulous advice, Harmony. Sorry you had to learn those lessons the hard way.

    Sally, excellent review. That is a such an amazing piece of work. Thanks for sharing your thought, as well as Harmony’s post, today.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Where to start, Harmony. I relate to SO much of this. Not from the aspect of my parents belittling me, but in me being a constant disappointment to them because I couldn’t swallow the strict religion crap they believed. My years of following an Indian Guru and learning to go within and figure out who I really was are years everyone around me thought I was wasting. They weren’t wasted at all. They were life-giving. Your poem is beautiful, as your wonderfully blessed happy ending with love. You are such a strong force and despite the physical issues you deal with daily, you choose to stay positive. Thank you for sharing! Hugs!

    Liked by 2 people

  20. An inspiring post. I love the poem, too.
    I think that the ‘putting down’ of children was something that some adults thought necessary.
    My aunt said to me, when my daughter was little and playing up, ‘You need to break her will.’ That shocked me.
    What you went through has made you stronger. But it could have broken you. I am so glad it didn’t.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round up 9th- 15th May 2022 – Ella Fitzgerald, St. Thomas, Magnesium, Short Stories, Podcast, Health, Travel, Books, Reviews, Health and Humour | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  22. A very inspiring post by Harmony, and one that will, no doubt, make many others think. I hope parents learn as well because some seem unable to see beyond appearances and don’t value the true person or see their potential. A great example. Thanks, Harmony and Sally.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. What a life journey for Harmony, and what a huge amount of work to find herself where she is today – a strong and happy person and successful author. A beautiful poem. I loved the lines: “unpicking the / stitches / so I can fall apart // only then / is it safe / to put myself back together”
    A lovely share, Harmony. Thanks, Sally.

    Liked by 1 person

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