My grade twelve ISU novel, “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens, started off with the quote portrayed above. Although I cannot recall ever finishing that book, this particular line from the book has stood true in my mind, especially in recent self-reflection. How can it be the best of times but still be the worst of times? Well, wiser now in my late twenties and having to have struggled throughout my life one way or another, I can see how it can be the best of times whilst being the worst of times.
I spent the earlier years of my life in a third world country. A country filled with chaos, violence and anarchy. However, I can only recall a childhood filled with love and innocence. Albeit that innocence always hung on by a string as predators, sexual predators liked to prey on the innocent and dangers of violence, death and worse kidnapping lie in wait all around. Before turning eight I had attended the funerals of faultless, adolescent neighborhood boys pushed, by poverty, into gang wars and violence of prominent landlords of the area. With violence and grief and predation surrounding me I was still a very happy child, discovering my surroundings through my unassuming and unblemished heart and mind, protected by my innocent age.
Molested a few times by different people before the age of nine, I did not tell a soul. Because even though I was young, I knew that my protective mother would try to hide me from all the evils that lurked around. I stood to lose my freedom. The freedom to run the relatively safe and innocent streets of a village where I would gallop away my childhood, free of mindful thinking, free from burdens of adulthood, free of feelings of fear and loss. The freedom to jump over puddles, to pretend fly with the gusts of wind that came with the semi annual torrential pours, that cleansed the streets and quenched the thirsty villagers and farmers alike. Although I had maintained my freedom then, my naive mind did not foresee the repercussions of concealing such secrets (which in it self is a new post).
I lived, then, a life where it was both the best of times and the worst of times.