I’m saying goodbye … goodbye to ‘Fragz’.
Because most of you know me as ‘Fragmentz’ but, actually, my name is Helen.
It always has been.
After writing ‘Saying Goodbye to Fragmentz – Part 1’ I had so many ideas on a Part 2, and probably a 3/4 as the final ones, but as it happens I don’t have those thoughts any more. I think the first one has done a good enough job of trying to explain a bit of of why its time to move on. I had planned to write this sooner – but a bit of illness got in the way – so its taken longer than expected, however I’m now feeling a deep sense of ‘now is the time’.
So this is it. The last ‘Fragmentz’ post.
Now is the time, to say goodbye. To an identity. A persona. Something that to begin with gave me a place to speak out about things I couldn’t vocalise. A thing that then became a place to be louder as my confidence increased. A space to connect and ‘be with’ others and feel less alone. To be part of the collective voice speaking out against and writing about particular issues.
Over the last year, a couple of people have asked me ‘so, how did Fragz come about’ – and for a while I had intended on writing a blog/about me page that explained, and that also talked about the merging of two identities. Because, increasingly overly the last 12 months, thats what it has felt like … that Helen and Fragz have, instead of being separate, have merged and become one. Because for a time, they were two different beings. One who on the face of it could not express openly in front of people the torture of mind and life, but who could write about it. As life has changed and moved, and I’ve grown and gotten stronger, so has that voice that could not speak. I have a voice now. As Helen. But I kept the voice as Fragz too. As I wrote in Part 1 – I then became defined. Defined by Fragmentz, and the stuff Fragz writes about/talks about/tweets about. And, don’t get me wrong, I know who did the defining. Me. I felt needed. Wanted. Part of something.
But I also became defined by the abuse. By the past. By my story.
Read Part 1 for more on that – saying good-bye to fragmentz-part 1
Most of you know me as ‘Fragmentz’ but, actually, my name is Helen.
When I started a new little journey 18 months ago, to seek out a healthier and happier life, I had no idea where it would take me, or that it would bring me to the place I’m at right now. I’m definitely not healthier, thats for sure. But I started the journey of trying to seek more happiness. More settled-ness, healing, restoration, wholeness. Big asks huh?
My GP wanted me to do EMDR (for Post Trauma Stress Disorder) therapy. My heart didn’t/doesn’t. Still didn’t/doesn’t even though it remains on the table as an option …
Because despite making great strides forwards in learning to live again, compared to how things were 5/6 years ago, my mind was/is still raging in battle. Battling nightmares that persistently persue me and don’t leave alone, flashbacks, anxiety, and a never ending fight with God.
We fell out. Big time. When I left London, moved back to Lincolnshire, I felt I had lost absolutely everything. I had my spent my life fighting to survive and thrive, and to be strong, and to ‘serve’ and do everything I thought God had wanted of me, incl going to London, and yet it wasn’t enough. London, at the same time as being the best two years of my life, also became the worst two, especially when in the last few weeks of my time there, what happened happened. In an instant – life went from being quite tough already/difficult to being life changing for the worse and intolerable. London will always be a reminder of ‘that day’ – which is why its so hard to go back.
So, God. Yeah, we fell out. Well, I fell out with him is probably fairer to say. And maybe ‘fell out’ is quite a light expression to what really happened? Because what really happened was I spent weeks and weeks and months screaming at Him. Screaming obscenities and anything and everything that was in my mind. My favourite name for Him was ‘sadistic Nazi bastard’. I call God every name I could come with. If He, or anyone in fact had physically been present in those days of rage- well, I dread to think.
But God wouldn’t leave me alone. He kept flooding my mind. But at the same time as the dark. There were times when I felt schizophrenic. Seriously. And then one day, laying on my bed, in a drunken haze, smoking, I had a bit of a ‘moment’. A weird moment. But a moment all the same, that made me make a decision I now regret. I’d been awake over 28 hours, and I was hallucinating. But in the ceiling I saw the face of Jesus (if you’ve been following my tweets the last few days, I’ve been rethinking about this and asking about other peoples experiences of this). Staring down at me, was the face of Jesus. And to begin with his eyes, were bright, but I couldn’t look Him in the eyes. How could I look at Him, in the eyes. Those eyes. Those eyes, turned red. Burning red, staring into me, into my soul. Beating down on me, scorching red. And then they turned to black. The face remained the same, but the eyes, they changed from kind, to burning red, to black. And they never left me.
As your probably thinking – and I was definitely thinking, this was all a bit mental right?
I had to move, jumped off my bed, left the room, paced the flat screaming for Him to leave me alone. For God to leave me alone. To go away. That I hated Him. And in that instant the face left my mind. And I drunk myself into more drunkenness and finally fell asleep on the floor in my dining room.
That was the moment I decided I could not bring myself to believe in a Jesus that would torment me so much any more. That I could not believe in a Jesus who apparently is light, and love, and peace and mercy, justice, and love. Because that wasn’t what I was getting. When I tried to look at God all I got and felt was pain, hurt, torment, anger, fear.
So I walked away. I then spent the next 6 months holed up, away from a lot of people and not engaging with anything or anyone. Except the people who were paid to be in my life, and I had no choice about otherwise I’d have been sectioned.
As time progressed, things started to change. I started to learn to live again. Started to learn a bit of normality again, in terms of functioning as a human. And ever so slowly I got swept back up into going to church again. Swept back into being part of the community I lived in, made friends again, started to venture out/work and generally work on this thing called ‘life’ again. And thats whats been happening over 5 years. Slowly, and often painfully, but things started to change. And those years have bought me to this place, where I am today where I can completely say, despite the difficult days that still arise, I am glad to be alive.
But this thing with God. Well, I never sorted it. Properly. I started going back to church, sure. I started trying to pray again, sure. I started trying to sing the songs again. I started helping with the youth again, trying to be the person everyone once knew me as/expected (or that I expected them to expect). I even re embarked on the journey of discovering whether ‘ordination’ was for me. Which was the reason I’d gone to London in the first place. To spend time ‘serving’/working for churches to explore if that was what I was being called to. Turns out it isn’t. But it was by starting that particular journey again, and the one I had embarked on 18 months ago, to seek out better health and happiness that got me to a point of revelation.
Several things happened – and I’ll leave writing about those in detail for now. But several things happened, big things, that got me to the point of realising that I had NEVER gone fully back to God and said sorry. I had turned my back but I had never turned back around towards Him. Properly. And through some random incidences got a sense of ‘now is the time’. Someone challenged me quite recently as whether I was a Christian or not. I was a bit surprised and taken aback, even though it was something I often wondered about. How dare they ask me outright. Of course I’m a Christian. Or was I? I think deep down, I was. Always have been. But there was this sense of needing to repair my relationship with God. And turn my focus back toward Him. Turn my body back in His direction. Start again, with trying to look up at heavens and seeing God. To turn my eyes back to His.
And through some real moments of weirdness, that I can ONLY describe as being those ‘God type moments’ that usually want to make me cringe and puke when people mention, God has bought me to a place of being able to come back.
I fell out with God. But He never fell out with me. I walked away and turned my back on Him. But he never did me. And that has been so evident. So evident in the fight. Because He has never let go of me.
Part of the journey I embarked on 18 months ago, that I keep mentioning was about this. And its led me to a new church. I had spent a bit of time last year, seeking, searching. As some of you may remember from my tweets/blogging of it, it was not overly successful. In fact it wasn’t successful at all, incl me having a go at one of them during the service, getting my stuff and walking out in a rage (do this new church really know what they’ve let themselves in for?!) …
I’d stopped looking to be honest. Couldn’t be bothered any more. Couldn’t be bothered going to any more churches that were completely off key and where I wanted to punch the Pastor. Couldn’t be bothered to visit another church that I’d been to four times and no one spoke. Or where you felt the eyes of everyone stare into when you walked into the service. Or where the coffee at the end is in a coffee shop where everyone goes into their little clique and your stood there, alone, like a div OR any more churches where their ‘ministry’ times consisted of you being pushed to the front and forced into having hands laid on you (two of my worst nightmares – being touched by strangers or people I don’t like/trust (if you know me or I trust you, its fine, you’ll know if its not!) and having to go to the front for any kind of prayer – whats that about? Why isn’t the back just as good?)
So, I’d given up, but by accident discovered this new church. I’d been working a few days a week away from my home town, and that week I had to cover some shifts in the town of this church, about 20 miles away. It was a client who told me about it. Because of the food bank they run. So we went one evening. And visited. And then I decided that if I was going to be working in that town, and visit the evening stuff a bit, I wanted to check out a morning. Check out that the mornings were as authentic as the evenings. That the mornings were not a complete contrast. So I went in a morning. And I’ve never stopped going (aren’t they lucky).
That was about 3 months ago … and its been revelationary. And life changing.
And I’ve not walked out. I’m hoping that If I was going to I would have by now. I’m learning to try and resist the temptation to deliberately annoy them so they reject me. I’m learning to try and accept the kindness, love and warmth they have extended out to me. I’m learning that they have stocks in ‘Kleenex’ as there is alway someone there with the box when needed, which so far has been most weeks. The flood gates have opened. I’m learning to accept the email sent the other day from the Prayer Coordinator woman, who has been praying for me about the health stuff, is genuine when she say’s they’ll stand with me whatever it takes. Soon after starting, and after speaking to a friend who also knew of the church and its leadership, at her advice, I met with the Pastor. I needed to try and tell him my story. Who I was. Who I am. Where I have been, but also where I want to be. Because other wise, if I had not, if no one knew, it would have got too difficult. Too easy to walk away. To easy to not cope with their love, and welcome and to run – even though I would have kicked myself forever. But I knew I would leg it when it got tough. So I made a conscious and deliberate effort to open myself up, be vulnerable, and trust that this was and is a safe place and space to do so. To maybe find and explore and seek some of that healing, restoration, wholeness. And so far it has been. It is.
And through a random set of coincidences, which I’ll have to write about another day, over on the new blog, I got to a point where a sense of ‘now is the time’ that I’ve been feeling about everything, incl ending ‘Fragz’ overwhelmed. And so on the 20th October I gave my life back to God. And I don’t know who is reading this, some of you might be cynical, some of you might be sighing, some of you might be happy, like the one or two people I told immediately after screamed with joy. I don’t know what your reaction is, and to be honest, I don’t care any more. Because I’m done with the fighting. The battling. Please know this was not some hyped dramatically crazy scene. Nothing that happened that day was hype. And I would be the first to shout it out if it had been (if you know me well, you would know this is not the sort of stuff I normally go in for). It was just deep. because that day, through several sets of things happening, I truly believe God was calling me back to him, again. Again again again. Because He has been for years. And that the sense of ‘now is the time’ overwhelmed me, alongside the several other things that happened.
So, what has this got to do with Fragmentz I hear you ask? Good question.
What its got to do with Fragz is this: through that experience on the 20th October, and the thing that happened earlier on that morning/at the beginning of the service, I feel as though the thoughts and dilemma’s I was having regarding my identity, and who I am, including my ‘name’ were boldly taken on. See, on the way to church the week before and that day I had been quite cocky with God. And given Him a challenge. A really stupid one. One that would actually be my worst nightmare, and one that I assumed would never ever happen, in a church full of other people. But, it did. I simply cannot explain it. I also can’t explain the song that was sung in the service by the preacher before he preached. And I cant explain the stuff he preached. Because it was all stuff I had challenged God about, and said something on the lines of ‘Look here mate…’. I had a conversation/non conversation that kinda went like this ‘if your listening, I’m challenging you to this … actually no I’m not, because that would be stupid, and would never happen, and I’d hate it/be cross/whatever if it did anyway) and so on. Then I got to the point where I said, literally, ‘Right, actually, fuck it God, if you are listening (which I don’t think you are) that IS what I’m asking for’. I never imagined that it would. But it did.
And it’s not very often I’m not able to explain away some thing, especially when its comes to God stuff. I can always find an explanation. But this … this was/felt/is different … And it addressed everything I had been thinking/battling with regarding who I am. My name. My real name. My ‘Fragmentz’ name and my ‘Helen’ name.
So back to what this has to do with Fragz. This is the thing. That day/that moment I knew, properly knew my name is Helen. I am Helen. He has called me by name. He has, and He did, forever and a day, and He did again on the 20th October. He didn’t call me by Fragmentz. He didn’t use Fragz. But He used Helen. Which was an important detail to me when I was doing that convo/non convo thing I mentioned above, because lots of people call me Fragz. Or H, or Ellie, or other nicknames. Which is fine, but my challenge to God was about Helen.
Because most of you know me as ‘Fragmentz’ but, actually, my name is Helen.
So, I’ve been challenged. Am being challenged. About who I am. Who I really am. My identity. My name. And about taking that back, and living in it. And moving forwards in and with it.
And that is not ‘Fragmentz’, because actually Fragz has served its purpose. I am not the same fragmented person I was back then when Fragz was born. Hell yeah, I’m still battling. I’m still journeying, processing, and this is the VERY beginning of a new journey. One I’m not sure I’ve ever been on before, and I wont lie, its a bit scary. But I’m wanting to, am going to continue the journey, the process, and move on from the start again as me.
I want to, and am learning to reconnect and re engage with God again. As Helen. I am learning to love, and be loved again. As Helen. I want to continue to seek after healing, restoration and wholeness. As Helen. As the person I am. No more Helen and Fragz. Just Helen.
I want to learn to trust, laugh love, live, hope, dream, shine and strive fully again. As Helen.
And I’m back on that journey again … but this time its with God. Properly with God. Deeply with God.
I’m making changes. Changes by saying Goodbye to Fragz, and focussing on other things and withdrawing from some conversations. Not totally, but not being so involved as I was. I’m making lifestyle changes. I’ve made the decision to make this new church ‘my church’ – and seriously, it really has fast become my church (what did they do wrong I hear you ask?!) – I’m committing to focussing on myself, and God. My relationship with God. And so thats meant pulling back and withdrawing from some of the things I’ve been volunteering with. Because ‘now is the time’. I’m committing myself to continuing to seek this healing, restoration and wholeness I’ve talked about. I have no idea how or what shape that is going to take, but I’m opening myself up to it. Because now is the time.
I went to a prayer meeting a few weeks ago, in the evening. They have these nights every now and then that focus on something, like prayer or worship or whatever. So this was a prayer night. And after people had time to pray and reflect, they were asked to share if they had anything. The Pastor, Chris got up, and talked about the church corporately, but also people individually, and the he was sensing God saying this –
‘We cannot alter the past BUT we can bring the past to altar’.
It made me cry (no surprise there) and took me away a bit actually. Because, for the first time in my life I’ve gotten to the point where I’m realising/have realised that I cannot change the past. I cannot remove it. I cannot erase it and make it go away. And I cant continue ‘living in it’. But I can bring it and give it to God. I CAN bring it and give it to God.
And thats what I’m wanting to do. I cant alter the past, but I want to bring it to the altar. Of God. Every time. Each and every time something comes up, trips me up, haunts me, plagues me. The nightmares, the memories, the flashbacks, the overwhelming senses of darkness that overcome at times, the person I was, I am, and going to be. Everything. I’ve given my life back to God, but life is still tough. Theres no quick fix to any of this. My health is still crap too, and seemingly getting worse right now. BUT I want to look to God. I want to learn to be able to be before the altar of God as I am, with everything I have to bring and know that I am OK. And OK in Gods eyes. I want to learn, in time to fully bring the past to His altar. I took communion, in church, on Sunday just gone, and having not been able to for several years, it felt like another huge significant moment of coming before God and His altar. This is the start. Of a new journey …
And so that is why we end up here. I have so much more to write. So much more I could say, I could be here all night, and this blog would be EVEN longer than it already is. So I’m bringing it to a proper end now …
The end of an era has come, and the start of a new one has begun.
I’ll still be writing. I’ll still be tweeting. Just not here, and not as Fragz.
I’ll still be exploring all things such as life, and faith and how it affects the every day … but the most important thing in all of that is that I’ll be doing it as Helen.
Because you all mostly know me as Fragmentz.
But actually, my name is Helen.
You can connect with me on Twitter – ‘@helen_a13’ or my new writing space which is at www.helenblogs.com (nothing on/done to it yet, but it will over the next week or so).
So, this is it.
After 5 years, all I’m left with to say right now, is thank you. Thank you for being part of the ‘Fragmentz’ journey, at whatever point you have been. Some of you through it all, some of you the last few years, and some the last few months. Whoever you are, and however long you have been part of this – thank you.
You’ve all known me as Fragmentz.
But actually my name is Helen.
And thats who I’m claiming back.