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It is so strange to be back here. Back where it all began for me. This little town that formed so much of who I am, good and bad. Where I experienced so much joy, sadness, fear, shame, hurt, hope and love.

Each street breathes distant memories, rising up from the pavement and from walls of old buildings like dust being stirred by a strange wind. Sometimes the dust that rises is so thick I feel as though I cannot breathe.

I often ask myself how I will manage being surrounded by these oppressive memories, images and feelings. Will I ever manage to bring some stillness to this never-ending reel of embarrassments and moments of shame that I long to forget? Can I find joy here as well? Can memories that have long been stained and despised be redeemed?

I see a ghost of myself on every street, in corners, down ally’s, in buildings, and in the absence of buildings. She cries-out, asking to be found, to be rescued, to be safe, to be loved and to be free.

I search for ways to mend what was broken, picking up a piece of me that was left here, and a shard of me that was abandoned over there, and I attempt to find a way of putting them together that brings peace and makes me feel whole.

I ask myself if the town itself is oppressive, or if it’s just me – my own mind. I have no answer yet.

What can a person do, but keep pushing-forward, attempting to make things right, to find healing and peace and be better today than yesterday.