This is a long post, but I needed to let it out. Please bear with me.

Lately, Iíve been doing a bit of soul-searching, with regards to my Ďdealingí and Ďrecoveringí. I felt like I was at a roadblock, perhaps one that is keeping me from going to that next Ďstepí. I felt like I had recovered all of the memories that needed to be addressed (though I do not often revisit them, theyíre lurking, somewhere), and Iíve analyzed them, and made the necessary connections to the person Iíve become today. All that was good, but it got me in a place where I simply spent time sulking, leading somewhat of a mundane existence without much purpose, feeling like Ďdamaged goodsí all I was, am, and ever will be. I felt like I now need to move beyond this stage; I pondered this the whole day today, and felt I needed to put my thoughts into writing.

To give some context, I have a dream, and thatís to become a pianist. Itís been with me now for a good number of years, as playing music is to a large extent the only thing that matters to me. The problem is, I realized today, that so much of my potential is being marred by the aftereffects of my own abuse. As if sleeping with me wasnít enough, my mother (abuser) ravaged my mind with a lot of forms of emotional abuse (e.g. belittling or ignoring any success or progress, constantly reminding me that I cannot make it on my own, criticizing or mocking or sneering at the way I played the piano, invalidating my methods and feelings, etc.) Add to that the fact that Iím still financially dependent on my father (who is more or less the slave of my mother), which leaves me in a position where Iím constantly harassed everyday by unwanted texts, phone calls and emails from them, with a lot of guilt-tripping, sob-stories or threats of cutting off support. A lot of members on here have suggested to me getting a job Ė while I truly respect this advice, it is difficult for me, with a 5-year gap on my CV and no job experience; also, a normal job means I would have to give up my artistic ambitions. Iíve led somewhat of a floating existence the last few months, but today I took a good look inside and dug out how I really feel, and it wasnít pretty. When I looked through all the layers of the protective shields that have by in large numbed me from negative emotions, I realized Iíve been feeling awful Ė I felt depressed, discouraged and dispirited...robbed of hope, confidence and faith in my own beliefs, values and thoughts, and defeatist in my attitude towards life. All of this translated themselves to a behavior that was wrought with apathy, idleness, procrastination, escape and addictions.

So I told myself today, this isnít the way I want to live the rest of my life. I wonít give into all this shit. I wonít give up. I want to prove to myself that I can beat them Ė my past, the abuse (past and ongoing), all of the bastards Iíve run into who took advantage of my weakened and vulnerable state and dumped me in the emotional gutter, and perhaps most importantly: myself. I want to show just how much of a badass I actually am, what Iím made of.

A while ago, I made an announcement that Iíd record 25 pieces to celebrate my 25th birthday, and I asked friends to give me suggestions as to what to record. I finalized a list of 25 pieces, and was well into a good routine, set on making it before I turned 25. Itís been about 6 months since my 25th birthday, and no recordings Ė I had crumbled. Midway into it, my ex-gf (I had a bad relationship with her and we had a nasty break-up that had her giving me death threats) made contact with me again, and focusing on this project and dealing with my parents had proven too much for me. I feel ashamed, that I wasnít man enough to live up to my word: I had let down all of my friends. It's really coming to the fore now - I feel like I'm no good, full of empty promises and not having the backbone to back them up. I had failed. But now I feel like the right thing to do is to suck it up, swallow the failure and shame, and revive the project.

Very recently, a friend of mine (who knows about my CSA) made a bet with me Ė 100 quid to perform 20 pieces live, by mid-September. Game on. Iíve prepared two programs that cover most of my originally proposed 25 pieces Ė I felt it was a nice way to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. Iíve printed them out. Iím hoping this will be my salvation, my redemption. It is ambitious (between three or four hours of music, all memorized; not to mention the dreaded aspect of having to make oneself emotionally vulnerable in front of many people), but I feel the process already having an impact on how Iím dealing with the abuse. I imagine myself bowing to the audience right before I start (and hopefully not fainting). I wrote down a list of skills and traits I have as a pianist, to give me back some well-needed confidence. I made a small space in my room only dedicated to music. I've printed out a list of quotes to keep me motivated. I have a routine and time schedule set to keep me from losing focus and being sucked into a vicious cycle of pain and wallowing again. I have, coincidentally, just about 25 days to make this happen. If these two recitals happen, I have many things to look forward to. I know that to a large extent, itíll verify and validate me as a musician and pianist, which will replace my identity as a mere Ďsurvivorí. I know itíll mean a taste of hope, of freedom, independence and autonomy. I know itíll help me validate my sense of being a man, with a purpose to fulfill in society (i.e. a social function), and a job/vocation that will give my life meaning, tasks and responsibility. I know I can realize my values Ė sensitivity, diligence, commitment, dedication, passion, vitality, spirit, emotional range, truth, honesty and genuineness Ė in performing these recitals.

I hope I can pull this off. And I hope it will be cathartic for me. I know Iíll need a lot of encouragement, from others and from myself. I know itíll be tough. I know I will need a strong mind. But Iím sick of letting the abuse wash away all of my potential into couldíve- and wouldíve-beens. I want to give life another shot. I want to forge my own identity. Iím ready for this next hurdle; I want to realize my dream.