We are sitting on the living room floor at number five Acresfield Road, my sister and I. I am five years old, Sarah is seven. Our eyes are glued to the eighties television set as we watch cartoons in our faded living room. Everything appeared to be brown back then; brown carpets, brown wall paper, brown television – a sepia stained era of times passed. Mum is at work earning her small income to keep us clothed and fed. During these times, Dad would take care of us. I never questioned why Mum worked and Dad stayed home, I guess I was too young to notice or to care. All I knew was that Dad took care of us after Gran dropped us home from school.
This particular day is to be one of my earliest memories, and it is one that will become etched into my existence, like a stray strand of hair which has embedded itself into my clothing, clinging on no matter how hard I try to shake it off. At most it simply shifts – falling to rest unnoticed on another part of me.
Dad appears in the doorway to our left, which leads into the kitchen. He is pacing back and forth, in and out of the living room, his face one of concern and panic. Fear transcends into my little body. I don’t know why Dad looks so frightened, all I know is that now I am frightened too. Dad’s right wrist is shaking and he grips it with his other hand in a bid to control the tremor. I stand, panicked. Dad tells us to, “Go away – leave!” We stare in horror and I begin to cry as Sarah grabs my hand, pulling me towards the other exit at the front of the house.
Dad disappears into the kitchen as Sarah drags me through the front door. Dad must have opened the back door because the moment we step outside the force of the wind courses through our home, slamming the front door tight with a deafening BANG. My heart stops in my chest. I turn to face the giant red door glaring back at me. The brass number five screwed to the top center of the door peers down at me as though mocking my age. “Five. Hah! What can you do?” The brass letter box sneers at me – its gold teeth grinning with delight after swallowing my Dad up inside. My heart leaps back into action and I pound my small fists against the hard surface of the glowing red monster. I lift the brass letter box and cry out to my Dad, my voice trembling with fear and frustration, echoing deep into the belly of the house.
In later years, I told Sarah of this haunting memory, assuming that she would have her own version of events surrounding that moment – her own ingrained grievances, which I assumed would differ somewhat to mine. Yet, she told of how she stood waiting for our elderly neighbours, Ernie and Gladys, to answer the door, of how she remembers clearly watching as I repeatedly thumped at the door in a panic.
I don’t remember how I came to be standing in Ernie and Gladys’ back garden – the next thing I recall is watching in despair as Dad face planted into the concrete path of our own back garden – all six foot two inches of him. I remember how he fell without putting his hands out to break his fall. And that is where the memory ends.
It is one of my earliest memories, it is also when I learned of epilepsy; my first real encounter with fear, and my first recognition that Dad wasn’t safe.
I often hear that the opposite to fear is love – that love transcends all fear. I have also learned of the importance in letting go. For some it is a ritual, for others it is prayer – for me, it is through the process of writing. Once it is recognised, it can be turned over to the angels, to God, to Source or The Divine – however you wish to refer to Higher Guidance – for healing.
With every heart ache comes a lesson. Once we recognise the lessons, each one becomes easier to release. Those stray strands which weave their way into the fabric of our lives are freed by the winds of change and lifted towards the heavens.
As I look back on this memory, in the words of Dr. Wayne Dyer ‘I can see clearly’ the way it has shaped and contributed to habitual fears in my life – fears which I am beginning to notice have held me back on this spiritual path – fears which I am ready and willing to let go of. I notice the walls I have built between myself and that which I love; passions as well as people. The way I have refrained from loving the men in my life too much. A fear of losing them? A fear of being vulnerable? I am not sure. All I know is that I have been known to freeze up when becoming too close threatens my sense of security. It’s as though that big red door is standing between them and I – preventing me from fully accessing my loved ones, as well as accessing those passions which bring me the greatest sense of freedom and joy. It also occurs to me that red is one of my least favourite colours (and there I was convincing myself that it’s because I support Manchester City, not Manchester United!)
I have walked passed that house many a times. It is one of the many houses we lived in growing up. The door is no longer red, it has been replaced by a newer door with a stained wood finish. Its size is no longer so large and looming, since I have grown some extra inches over the years. That big red door has been torn down, its existence is no more. I have no reason to hold on to its memory, no reason to fear it. I send that door love. I send epilepsy love. I send my Dad love. And most importantly, I send my five-year-old self love. There is nothing to fear anymore.