So much you start to learn when you forgive yourself. My ‘lost years’ couldn’t ever have been anything other than what they were – what I was looking for was far too complicated for me to have pulled off with the few tools I had available. Yet right until Alistair’s meditation retreat this weekend I’d held on to all the blame – that was until I first realised where I stored my self-hatred. Finding that unlocked where I stored all sorts of other feelings, and we practiced noticing the way our perceptual senses triggered off feelings; one scent pushed me back to the Pacific Northwest, both to Portland and Vancouver. I’ve always largely defined the 1987-1994 period as my ‘lost years’, fighting as I was both for and against my sexuality and sexual orientation & have blamed myself for not having locked into the world, not having taken a stand. But that wasn’t all I was trying to find, in fact I think it was a secondary consideration. Caught up in Mum’s illness and then death, I was looking for home – the place where I felt most fully me. Being in Portland or at least Oregon at that point was always enough to get me back in tune with feeling like me – after years of hell it’s hardly surprising that this was the top priority in 1991/2. No tools, caught up between these two primal demands, it’s hardly surprising that neither won out for another two years. Yesterday morning I forgave myself and allowed those ‘lost years’ to be what they were, rather than what I’ve imagined them as.