It's like walking into a dark room and turning on the lights only to realize the room was always there. It was either forgotten or forbidden.

Inside this room are the bits and pieces of your past. Some are in neat piles while others have just been randomly tossed inside.

It becomes a matter of deciding where to start your search.

My search started years ago when trying to find myself. A series of events triggered the need to know more about myself and the world and how I fit into the bigger picture of life. Along the path I met up with a few demons that decided to stick along for the ride. It wasn't until recently I had the revelation possibly brought on by a guardian angel I assuredly assumed long ago had abandoned me. She was always there but I chose to listen to the demons.

If you've never wrestled with a demon you don't realize how clever and comforting they can be. They can schmooze even the best of us because they know our weaknesses. When you feel alone in the world they are there to tell you it's okay because they are there and you don't need anyone else. It was the others who led you into despair in the first place.

They have names, these demons. Guilt, the one that makes sure you believe that you have done everything wrong and are the source of other's pain.

Abandonment, the one that lets you know that others will leave you when you need them and he will be the only one to stay.

Fear, the one that makes sure you don't exceed in the pursuit of happiness.

Anger, she's the one that helps Repression and Hopelessness like a pack of adolescent girls that look for a victim.

Apathy who makes sure you stop caring, he also hangs out with Hopelessness.

Paranoia is a goddess in her own right but the rest of the group can easily egg her on. Paranoia shacked up with Self Esteem and they gave birth to Self Loathing.

It's a tight knit community that resides within you.

On the outskirts the lesser angels try their best to instill some sense of balance. Joy has made it across the border a few times but was escorted out. Wit has a good relationship with Sarcasm and can freely move between the lines. Fortitude tries desperately to converse with Hopelessness while Forgiveness battles daily with Atonement.

In the midst of this pandemonium hidden away is the Inner Child. She watches intently from her keyhole behind the door of the forgotten room. Wondering if they realize she's there and if they will recognize her when she or if she finally emerges. She survives on the dreams and anticipation that she gets back what was lost...her identity.

It was only recently when I found that room and stumbled inside. I was taken aback by its contents. Boxes stacked high and labeled with the names of past memories both good and bad. Slips of paper with abstruse bits of information lay here and there waiting to offer a small clue. I pulled up a chair and started to piece together the puzzle that became my life.

The metaphor of the hidden room was the best analogy I could come up with, one that could possibly be the most viable to relate to by other lost children. You see, sometimes it takes a slap from reality to make you wake up and remember that you are alive. That slap came in the form of an article I read while researching for a story. I was faced with the reality that I am a victim. An admission that is still hard to justify but must be dealt with if I'm ever going to heal my heart and soul.

I am the adult child of an alcoholic. I'm not mad, as in insane not angry, though I have felt like it for a long time. What struck home was this line: you will come to see parental alcoholism for what it is: a disease that infected you as a child and continues to affect you as an adult. Revelation.

I read that article and more realizing that a disease that I didn't have any control over has subjectively controlled me and still does. After reading the words that described me perfectly it dawned on me that this was written by someone I've never met and so I was not alone. For once I can finally say, "It's not my fault" and really feel it to be true. I can now deal with the demons.

As I peruse the memories both good and bad I begin to see glimpses of the lost child. She's small and scared and me. I can see why she became lost and why she feels alone. I want to run and take her in my arms and say everything will be okay, but I know that neither of us are really ready and now is not the proper time. We have a silent understanding.

I am puzzled. Where's the anger and tears I expected to see? Where are the biting and spitting and scratching? She's too damn complacent and resolved...or so I think. The anger was there but I was the one consumed by it and expressed it not knowing it's source. The tears I won't share, they are mine and mine alone. It is time for us to share our unexpressed grief. We must finally admit we are not to blame, there is no shame, we are stronger than we think and our self-imposed prison can be boarded up and left vacant.

Revelation leads to confession and admission. It is the forbearance to rationally and realistically take control of your life and establish livable goals. How does one do that when they've lost their identity?

I guess it's time to become assertive and let the true feelings come out. It's time to admit that I have anger over ruined holidays and celebrations. I have anger at my father for letting the bottle control him. I'm angry that he had no consideration for anyone but himself, that he drove us places, that he wasn't there growing up, that there were no family vacations and I've yet to go to fucking Disney. I hated the times when I had to be the son and not the daughter but then was told what girls could and couldn't do. I hated lying in bed when you came home drunk and carried on with your yelling and cursing and demoralizing. I hated standing near the bedroom door, opening it just a crack in case this was the time when you might get angry enough to hit instead of yell. I hated watching you go through the DT's. I hate knowing that it could be me doing the same thing some day.

I really couldn't do anything right could I? I still can't. I don't need to be yelled at or scolded, I need to be talked to and understood. I need to be allowed my opinions and beliefs and thoughts.

It is okay to brag about your kids once in a while, it's not putting on airs or showing off. It's a matter of being proud of accomplishment no matter how small. Maybe if my drawings were hung on the fridge or the wall I may have not become so critical of my art and myself.

I'm not doing something stupidly I'm merely misdirected and if I make a mistake it's mine to make and learn from.

I don't believe the Catholic Church has the solemn rights to God.

I don't need to feel bad that I don't get along with God; he was an absent father too.

I don't think Oprah minds being black, she's happy with whom she is despite her skin color.

I don't think I can ever be 'normal' because I don't know what it is, I can be non-conformist and be happy with that.

I will amount to something but for myself and not others.

I choose to appear cool and indifferent, check my feelings at the door and pretend I don't care at times because when you open yourself up, the ones who manipulate and prey on weakness easily can victimize you.

I hate labels and people who feel the need to decide how others should live their lives when they are just as messed up.

I hate being told that trying to find happiness for myself is selfish because others depend on me.

I'm tired of hurting physically, spiritually but mostly emotionally. It's exhausting.

There. I got a few things out and released into the universe. Whose ears they fall upon really doesn't matter because they are free. They are out of me now.

I didn't have the worst childhood. I had fun and did kid things but I spent the first 16 years having to become an adult at some points. Maybe some day I will enjoy the holidays. I may have a few drinks without feeling guilty especially in my own home. I know smoking is bad but I'll quit when I'm damn well ready.

I know now that I'm not insane, as I've suspected. Yes, I suffer from depression but that too will be controlled and maybe even conquered. I will take small steps and overcome the demons. Some will be difficult but the others already seem smaller and weaker. I will ask for help when I need it and not feel like I have all the world's problems at my feet waiting to be solved by me.

I will establish my own personal bill of rights. I will design my own flag and wave it proudly. I will go to battle and not be taken prisoner again because my eyes are open and I have magical super powers that will defeat my enemy.

I am smart.

I am strong.

I am talented.

I am attractive.

I am worthy.

I am compassionate.

I am a good mom.

I am a good daughter.

I am a good person.

I am.

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