Story: Authentic Life School
By: Belinda Lane
December 24, 2021
It was my first day of school. I was excited and apprehensive. As I walked towards the schoolyard, I saw individuals with signs protesting in front of the school.
They were holding up signs that read:
“Hold on to your past.”
“You are what your past has told you are.”
“Be aware of trying to change your life at this late stage.”
Some people, reading the signs, turned around returning to their cars, others joined the demonstrators. I hurried to get past the scene and get inside of the school. Once inside, it surprised me to see a security scanner monitoring everyone coming into the building.
I noticed a man stepping out of the line and moving over to side. The inspection officer instructed him to remove his hat before scanning him again. “I have nothing on me. Why am I being harassed?” the man questioned? You could see he was visibly upset. “Sir, remove your hat the inspection officer requested of the gentleman again. When the man removed his hat, a label fell out with victim written on it. Sir, you cannot take that inside.” The inspection officer instructed where the man’s label had to go. Instead, the man put it back in his hat.
“I have a right to wear this. I am a victim,” the man said, shouting at the inspection officer. “Sorry sir, that’s not allowed in the Authentic Life School.” I couldn’t understand why the gentlemen wouldn’t give up his victim mentality. Everyone enrolling in the Authentic Life School had signed an agreement to give up everything holding them back in life.
The inspection officer escorted him out of the building because he refused to give up his label. I was about to ask the lady in front of me if the line had been moving this slowly since she had got here. Before I could say anything, an inspection officer started walking down the line, shouting. “People, please empty the following items before you get to the scanner; your childhood experiences of mental abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse, any sexual abuse. Make sure you have let go any anger, anyone you have not forgiven, a victim mentality. Please look at the list in your registration packet. They provided you with an entire list when you signed up for this school. The scanner will pick up all labels.”
The lady in front of me turned around with tears in her eyes, “I will not give up my right not to forgive, never!” I watched her as she walked out of the building, almost running. I still couldn’t understand the confusion because everyone filled out a questionnaire at registration. Based on our answers, we could sign up for this school. According to the form, we had to give up the labels holding us back in life. And here at the Authentic Life School, we would learn how to rebuild our lives and discovering our real self, our authentic self.
The Authentic Life School wasn’t easy to get into. The requirements were hard and seemed unfair. These things had happened to us, snatching the life out of most of us. I had heard about this school several years prior and wondered why anyone would ask you to give up the wounds they carried because of another person’s action towards them. Others had put us in this place of life where we now lived. Others should see in the victim’s life what the abusers cause them to go through, like depression, grief, pain, suicidal thoughts and chronic illness which the victims lived with. If you forgave the person, how would the person pay for what they had done.
My hardest challenge was to give up my thought life, which I had to develop over the years. This was my protected device I used to keep me looking back at ones who had hurt me in the past. When anything went wrong in my life, I could point back to who was responsible. If they had not done what they did, my life would have been different.
Life had been hard. Keeping an active thought life of my past kept me on medications. Basically, to keep the symptoms at a control pain level that my body could tolerate daily. I needed to pull from my past to explain my present state. One doctor had explained the mind does not know that the events I am thinking about are from the past. Therefore, my mind believes I am living those experiences and causes my body to react as I relive those experiences over and over.
I explained to the doctor these things happened to me and I will not forget them and someone had to pay for what they did. The doctor said someone was paying, and that I was that someone. I never went back to that doctor.
One day after having my third visit to my primary physician in one month, this time because of an earache and being out of control of my movement when I walked. Sitting there in the waiting room I realized, well, the only way I can explain it, exhausted from the doctor visits, the constant pain, going to bed earlier and earlier each night so I could sleep and not think. When I looked back over my life at the ones that had caused me pain, I could not understand. How could they go on with their life knowing the pain they had inflicted on my life and not even appear to care?
I left the doctor’s office that day with sample bottles of a prescription the doctor recommended. My thought went back to the doctor that stated my body relives the thoughts of my mind from the past as happening right now.
Sitting in my car, I noticed that there was a flyer on my windshield; getting the paper, I threw it on the ground. Getting back in my car, I notice the paper struck to my shoe. Pulling the paper off my shoe, I saw the words “Register Now” in big bold letters. The information was about a new school that was opening.
It took some time, but eventually the information from that day brought me to standing in line for my first day of school. The line was moving at a good pace. Looking at the person now standing in front of me after the lady left, I realized was a teenager. “You look too young to be here,” I said to her. “Yes,” she responded. “Do you mind me asking why you are here at such a young age?”
“Well, I had some terrible things happen to me for about five years in my life. My mom and aunt, who also had the same thing happen to them. I decided I did not want to live my life like theirs. My mom became addicted to prescription medicines and is in and out of mental hospitals. My aunt committed suicide. I had acted out to numb the pain and ended up in juvenile hall. There I met a counselor who told me about the Authentic Life School. My counselor helped me meet the requirements and here I am.”
I watched as they scanned her and she went through with no problems. Looking back at me, she smiled and headed down the hall. I already knew what I had to do before stepping up to the scanner. Judging other people for holding on to their labels, I should have been judging myself. “Here,” I said and handed the inspection officer the residue of “what ifs” I was still holding on to. What if my childhood had been different? What if I had gone to that school instead and what if I had married or had not married him? What if I had moved when I had the opportunity? The “what if” was my last piece of me to give up. I felt that if these things had or hadn’t happened, I would not have to be attending this school, especially this late in my life.
The inspection officer smiled and said this was most people's biggest label to let go, other than forgiving. He congratulated me on letting go before they scanned me. Sitting in the auditorium waiting for orientation, it was amazing to see people of all age groups, especially ones that seen over 50 years of age. I couldn't imagine how long they must have been in pain. There were males and females of all nationalities. Isn’t it funny how we sometimes believe we are the only ones who are experiencing the things we have gone through? There was even a section in the auditorium where a person was doing sign language for some attendees.
Leaving the orientation, I proceed to my first class. “Excellent morning class. This will be the beginning of the first day of your life. They placed you in this class based on the answers to the questionnaire you filled out. So, with that said, welcome to your first class ‘What Ifs’!”
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