Today I have an extract from the book.
This is a story of one woman’s struggle with the human experience of the 21st century – the seemingly unanswerable questions and her journey to the answers. This is a story of confusion, addiction, grief, heartache, insight, elation, clarity, joy and ultimate freedom. It is a story lived by billions of humans across the planet – a story we will all, to some degree or another, resonate with. If you’re desiring more, ready to relinquish the old story of your life and fully let go, to be embraced in the arms of the greater you, then this book is for you. Indeed, it’s no coincidence that you’re reading this – life doesn’t make mistakes.
I have always asked questions. I have always wanted to know. As a small child I remember
staring out of my window at night, gazing into the black sky whilst I wondered – where oh where
does it all end? Who are we? Where are we? Who’s out there? Where does space actually stop
existing? And then what? What happens when we reach the edge?
These thoughts baffled me. I often felt the need to divert from this train of thinking as I truly had
nowhere to go with the questions, let alone my idea of the answers. The wonder, awe and
bewilderment these musings provoked within me seemed far too big for my little mind to contain
– if I kept looking, surely my brain would combust! But there it was, the precedent had been set
– I was a searcher. I was questioning as soon as I knew how and it hasn’t stopped yet. I am
certain it never will.
As for my personal identity, I understood from my outside world that I was naughty, a little
aggressive (with a satanic temper apparently), that I spoiled happy occasions and was generally
very difficult to get along with. As one can imagine, this is not an ideal sense of self to grow up
inside of and to brandish in everyday life, and needless to say, I didn’t feel great about myself.
As a caveat, I clearly see that I learned to give people the exact ‘me’ that they expected. We tend
to hold gospel to that which we’re told from a young age, it becomes our identity (who were we
to know differently?) and we wear our labels as badges of honour, no matter how crappy they
Who’s to say why I was experiencing such intense emotions from such a tender age, but it is
what it is and although I absolutely cannot say for sure, I have always been fighting the status
quo and fighting for justice and for what feels right and sometimes it just felt too much.
This feeling of fitting in has been a familiar thread in my life. As I mentioned, I am not sure
where or when this materialised or at which particular point I received the message that my
natural shape was flawed, only G-d knows the starting point, but I have often considered the
impact of systems and how instrumental/detrimental they have been to my sense of self and wellbeing.
We’re brought up in a society where there are hard and fast rules and a protocol to adhere to, a
‘right way to be’ and a correct way to behave and if, like me, you receive a message from a
young age that you’re ‘too much’ and it is simply not tolerated, the child will find ways to adapt
that are acceptable. To one’s detriment.
Who are you really? What is life truly about? Why are you here? What is your purpose and why does that knowing sometimes feel so elusive? These are the questions that many of us ponder in the day to day running of our lives as we spin unconsciously on our hamster wheels. What if everything you thought you ‘knew’ was a long way off from the Truth? What if the answers to the all important questions of your life were right in front of you? What if your dreams were only a sliver of what is possible for you? What if….?
You see, if I consider who I was before I forgot (that is, before I was shaped by environment,
societal protocol and the like), I have a sense of being a carefree, creative, highly emotive and
sensitive individual, potentially leaning more towards the arts with a strong desire to express and
to feel my way through life, rather than to think, rationalise and use logic. Indeed, I believe this
is the case for the majority of children before we reach a stage of being that barely resembles the
truth of who we are and what is possible.
My feeling is that I was generally uncomfortable in my own skin. There was lots of ‘fitting in’ to
do and I was constantly contorting myself into a shape that was not me. I was a strong
personality with anger being a very familiar emotion for me. I have been told that I would
regularly tantrum from a very young age to the point of passing out – I guess my little self just
couldn’t deal with the rage that I felt, I simply couldn’t contain it. My mother was concerned at
first (who wouldn’t be) but as with most things, you get used to them and I always came round
quickly after the intensity subsided. The body is incredibly intelligent and it took me offline
whilst it recalibrated.
Life was ‘normal’ growing up. I lived in a house in a suburban road in northwest London, UK,
with my mum, dad, sister and various cats at different times. I moved through the schooling
system in the ‘right’ way. I was taught right from wrong, correct manners, my please and thank
yous, what to wear, how to dress, who to be friends with, the way life goes, that life is tough
(you’ve got to work hard in a job you don’t enjoy in order to get what you want), that you can’t
do this and you can’t do that and much more about the nature of life and what it means to be
human. Most of which I wouldn’t have chosen were I to be the designer of life – incidentally, it
turns out that I am… more about that later.
About the Book
As someone who’s interested in understanding ‘the journey’, be it psychological or otherwise, I
have often considered what set the precedent for my breakdown and journey into addiction – be
it OCD, codependent relationships, food (under or overeating), drugs or alcohol. It’s an
opportune moment to tell you that my longest relationship to date has been with cocaine. We
hung out together for 11 or so years and in hindsight, it potentially wasn’t the best choice of
partner. Regardless, I have no regrets… more on this later.
So, to the ‘cause’ of my foray into addiction and my descent down the spiral. There are a few
It is important to mention at this stage, that with the message of ‘I’m too much’, I learned to dim
myself down. This dimming down meant that I moved through life as a lesser version of myself,
a less shiny model. And when you’re not being true to yourself, when you’re hiding, it’s a lonely
place to be and it’s hard to forge deep and authentic connections when the you that shows up in
the world is a false self, not the full picture. I learned to swallow myself down, that is, to stuff
down my feelings and emotions from a very young age.
Liberation by Emma Eker was published by Evolving Press on 25 January 2021.