Tell It Like It Is

by Feb 1, 2018

Danish philosopher and theologian, Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) is credited for saying “Face the facts of being what you are, for that is what changes what you are.” Do any of us really want to face what we are? I certainly had no intentions of doing so however, sometimes the universe has something else in mind.

For me, 2017 has been a what, where, when sort of year that has left me confused, emotional, inquisitive, angry, but ultimately, stronger. Facing the good and bad in one’s past is rewarding especially if you do not allow yourself to remain there.

I went down the rabbit hole this past year and finally looked at what was done to me as a child along with my own actions and behavior – for which I take full responsibility. I am not innocent and yet, do I blame myself for being led down a dangerous path before knowing the difference between right and wrong? And do I blame myself for continuing down the same path as I became older?

In trying to come to terms with my life, I decided to write everything down. I wanted to be able to see in black and white the progression of events that have shaped me into the man that I am today. Although rewarding, it has also been difficult to admit as well as, accept my train wreck of a life – a very carefully constructed facade with only the occasional crack in the veneer.

Actress Rose McGowan has been outspoken regarding the sexual abuse she endured. In fact, she has written a book, Brave, in which she describes as: “This is not a tell-all. This is a tell-it-like-it-is.” I love that description and feel that my upcoming release, Songs from an Imperfect Life, is also a “tell-it-like-it-is” memoir.

I did not set out to shock or be salacious. However, by being honest in telling my stories I realize that there will be some that might be surprised as well as, offended by the way that I have lived my life. Those from my church past and especially those from my high school and college years will now realize how well I kept things hidden from them. And friends that I have been blessed to have in my life through the years, will soon know things that I never intended being known. And yet, I now feel that I am ready to share.

Just as I tried to do with Kept in the Dark, I do not place blame. I am simply presenting facts to show how one thing can lead to another and another and another until you find yourself so far over the line that you wonder if you’ll ever find your way back. And while it has been cathartic for me to finally come to terms with my past, ultimately I hope it will be helpful to others. I have said before that our past and our mistakes do not have to define us. Each day is a new day and a chance to start over.

J. Ronald M. York, author of Kept in the Dark, is also an accomplished musician and founder of York & Friends Fine Art Gallery.

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