This is one of those pictures you have to look at a few times before you realise just exactly what is going on. When I realised she was riding between carriages on a train my immediate thought was “I’d never do that”. But another part of my mind quickly clicked in and said, “You did it all the time”. Scary!
I love riding on trains and when I lived in the northern suburbs of Wellington, NZ one of the best things about the suburb was that I could ride the train into the city. It was great. It was a completely different feeling than the bus that my then, husband chose to use. But let me be clear, I never rode like this woman in Bangladesh, and always managed to pay my way. That said, at the same time in other areas of my life, I was taking these risks all the time. Actually perhaps I was taking bigger risks. It certainly involved my life.
I rode trains that I thought other people thought I should ride. I was unsure of who, and what I was, so tried to imitate,, somehow the lives of other people around me. There were so many things I didn’t know and that made me pretty naive. It was all too easy to jump a train and only realise later, even now, that it was the wrong train. Those trains often took me into dangerous situations and sometimes I look back at the decisions I made and feel so dumb. How could I be that stupid?
Perhaps one of the dumbest things I did was get on a train by marrying the man I did, because again it took me into dangerous places. Don’t get me wrong, he wasn’t the danger. The danger was what that commitment did to my head when, while I loved him, I wasn’t in love with him. I talked myself into believing that my gut feeling was wrong and I think my uncertainty of who I was contributed to not knowing what, or who it was that I needed. I thought I would be protected by marrying him. I thought I would feel safe finally. I wanted to be loved and that’s what I was being offered. Riding that train (called marriage to the wrong person) however nearly killed me (literally) more than once.
I think I’m getting a better idea now of who I am, and what I need. The way that has happened for me has been a heck of a lot of on-going therapy and a couple of special people who believed in me. It also helped that I am learning to accept that they believed in me. A hard lesson, when I haven’t believed in myself, but an essential one in terms of learning to valuing myself.
Over the years I have made some really dumb choices about which trains to get on, and for that matter, which trains to jump off way too soon. I’ve got hurt, and I know I’ve hurt other people in the process. In many different ways. Not the least being the man I married, and then divorced. He got hurt big time. The thing is though, that I’m starting to realise that what I have done, the decisions I have made, were done because at the time I believed it to be the best choice. With what I knew at the time, it was the only choice to make.
I think I have to be gentle enough on myself that I forgive myself for those things. I think if I go on regretting the things I did or didn’t do, I will never be free. And I know now, that I want to be free. Those trains happened and often they hurt badly and left deep scars, but I’m doing my best to move on from it all anyway. And forgiving myself.
“It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes- it is inevitable. But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, ‘well, if I’d known better I’d have done better,’ that’s all. So you say to people who you think you may have injured, ‘I’m sorry,’ and then you say to yourself, ‘I’m sorry.’ If we all hold on to the mistake, we can’t see our own glory in the mirror because we have the mistake between our faces and the mirror; we can’t see what we’re capable of being. You can ask forgiveness of others, but in the end the real forgiveness is in one’s own self.”
– Maya Angelou
- Can I still Chase the Train? (kgen2001.wordpress.com)
- 110 Pages. (ridgwaydanielle.wordpress.com)
- Day 42: I Wish Time Would Move Faster (kasperkwan.wordpress.com)