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 …
Rise at five
pulling the skeletons
out of the closet
under the rug
the frayed seams
so I can fall apart
is it safe
to put myself back together
drapes ripped open
I see you
I know you
you have no power over me
at long long last
at ease in peaceful repose
life is easy
I take it
in my stride
do I feel
I have to hide
the universe is vast
so much space
of room for me
now it’s time
stagnant all these years
too full and silted up
I have to tap the wellspring
in the cosmic washing machine
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
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.
Thank you for dropping in today and it would be great if you could share the post… thanks Sally.