Two newspaper articles caught my eye last week for the simple reason that I knew some of the people involved.
It made everyone smile to read the story of the 21 year old girl in South London who gave birth in a onesie!! I laughed, not just because it was a funny story (it was!) but because I went to college with her dad! He contacted me last year on Facebook and I had such fun reminiscing with him and sharing photos online. I remember a very cute, skinny young boy, always smiling and bursting with fun, available for every party – as was I… And now he’s a grandpa!! Actually, I started out by saying I was laughing, but realising that someone of my generation is a grandparent has scared the pants off me.
When I think back to those days I don’t remember an awful lot of work being completed. There was none of the commitment I give to my business or devoted to my degrees. How lovely to be seventeen and free to have fun: flirting (with Alan Davies in my case, sorry – still like namedropping that one…), dancing and barely thinking about tomorrow’s workload. I can’t imagine not having a work plan now. Even with the luxury of juggling a workload to fit in invitations and unusual engagements, it’s vital to have a schedule that ensures essential work is completed on time.
And about as far removed as you can get from memories of college parties and happy stories of new babies, I was shocked to discover a few days ago that one of my Facebook friends has overcome the despicable trauma of rape. I only met Katja last year – she was the curator of the art exhibitions that included my poetry in collaboration with Martyn Royce’s artwork.
The reason I’m mentioning this is that, although Katja was raped six years ago; her story is fresh in the press because this week, she chose to confront her attacker in prison – incredibly, to tell him she has forgiven him! This inspirational woman has refused to allow an insidious, life changing violation to shatter her life. She has spurned the victim mentality, recognising that negative emotions are enduringly destructive. Instead, she’s risen above to become a stronger person.
Forgiveness is huge and difficult, and it takes someone special to truly accept, place the event in the past and move on. When someone impacts on our lives in such a dreadful way, causing immense pain and, often, irreversible damage, it’s hard to move away from the feelings of anger and resentment. Bitterness eats away at people and prevents true happiness. Yet forgiveness isn’t a natural state, it’s a skill that, for many, needs to be learnt.
I admire Katja so much – both or her ability to forgive and her courage in speaking out. She’s arranging her next art show now with the same zeal as last year’s. Her positivity and enthusiasm are infectious and I’m proud to know her. Katja inspires people to be creative, so I’m encouraged now to write more poetry for her next exhibition. In order to avoid the usual distractions I’m heading off to a beautiful remote cottage this week to do just that.
Natasha Bedingfield once said, ‘Drench yourself in words unspoken, live your life with arms wide open. Today is where your book begins… the rest is still unwritten.’ I’ll be writing while I’m away, so you can still find me here: @WeekendWitch.
(Thanks to MykeyRobinson.com for sharing the Forgiveness pic.)