Remember the story of Lot’s wife? She was being taken, along with her family, away from her town of Sodom, which was about to be destroyed. They were told not to look back, but Lot’s wife did look back at the burning city and was turned into a pillar of salt.

If I mention something about my childhood, particularly about my experiences at school, someone is likely to say, “That was a long time ago. Now you have a family, friends, life is good. Best to move on.”

But that’s precisely what I did for a long time. As soon as I left school, I put it all behind me and didn’t look back. The result of that was that I had nothing to say. When others talked about their childhoods, I kept quiet. If specifically asked, I’d mumble something short and feel left out.

Now, I think that was the wrong thing to do. Our past is a part of us. If we block it out, we lose part of our personalities, of ourselves. So now I try to talk about it. I try not to listen to the voice that says, “They don’t want to know. They think you’re dwelling on the past. They think you should move on.”

Guess what? I haven’t turned into a pillar of salt. I’ve become a bit more of a real person. Talking is hard, but it’s also rewarding. And there’s always the hope that by talking I can help others, because I believe that the things that happened to me didn’t need to happen and don’t need to happen to anyone.

What do you think? Is looking back good or bad?

 Baby

In my previous post, I suggested that writers’ blogs are shallow and uninteresting. By writing that, I have been introduced to some very different blogs, and especially mapelba, who poses some thought-provoking questions. The question in her latest post is: “Where do you come from? Does your answer explain your writing?” Some people come from some very dark places. I come from a place of love, protection and loneliness….

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I come from a place so deep in suburbia that the bus came only once every half hour – if you were lucky.

I come from a world of secrets and pretence. Of feeling guilty every time I forgot.

I come from a father who I now know was a people pleaser, who needed everyone to think well of him, and who took out his frustrations on his wife. And a mother who never understood that. I come from a mother who never understood many things. I come from parents who had had enough excitement in their lives by the time I was born.

I come from a place where religion is a noose, a chore, a secret, an embarrassment, a reason for keeping quiet. But also a fine tradition, an offloading of worries and hopes, an expression of sadness and joy.

I come from a place where teachers just taught and children were free to torment as much as they wanted. Where no one explained to them that their actions could be a life sentence.

I come from a place where loneliness is the norm and thoughts have no human outlet.

I write to tell the world that whole lives can be spoilt because of where they come from, if no one notices or acts in time.