Accomplishments don’t erase shame, hatred, cruelty, silence, ignorance, discrimination, low self-esteem or immorality. It covers it up, with a creative version of pride and ego. Only restitution, forgiving yourself and others, compassion, repentance and living with dignity will ever erase the past.”
― Shannon L. Alder

Restitution ©FrogDiva Photography

It feels like a turning point day of sorts and I can’t really place my finger on it, whether it is just the Wednesday vibe or a foreboding. In any case, I woke up with this weird feeling and stepped out of the building and faced this view (see above). If I needed any kind of confirmation, this was it. I even got to wish upon the last star of the night.

Be definition, restitution is the act of restoring something that has been lost or stolen. This is what this glorious morning meant to me, the restoration of my beloved clouds and the light within that was stolen and extinguished.

I will have to live the rest of my life with certain negative triggers that will cause emotional or psychological blockages, but one of the most valuable lessons from my time in Berlin is the ability to recognize these triggers, and placel a safety barrier between myself and whatever or whoever it is that poses a threat. Learning how to use the word NO is another important lesson, but I’ve discussed this at length already. What’s done is done, and I am proud of the chapters that I finally closed. Now if I could only learn to be kinder to myself.

I burst out in laughter this afternoon at work, and I realised that this is something else that Portugal has given me back – my sense of humour and the ability to laugh at and with the world. I find the beauty and joy in the world around me these days, but also savour the moments that trigger laughter, and it is excruciatingly painful to realise how much I have missed it.

Do you remember the days when we eagerly awaited the next edition of Reader’s Digest in the mail? Our subscription used to arrive at Daddy’s office, and he dutifully brought it home unopened each and every time. When it landed on the kitchen table, however, it was a three-way battle between my parents and me, each of us eager to stick our noses in our preferred sections or featured articles. My favourite part was always those little annecdotes scattered throughout the journal called Laughter is the Best Medicine. Beginning to ring a bell for some of you out there? Believe it or not I was audacious enough to submit an entry, but that is a story for another day. This week I have re-acquainted myself with the meaning of this phrase and am still reeling from the aftershock. For many, the cliche Time heals all wounds may be the consolation to tide them over from one disaster to another, and I suppose there is a certain truth to it. But it is laughter, genuine laughter that comes from the depths of your stomach, that heals the deepest of wounds. The moment you allow the clouds of sadness and depression to lift, magical things happen to your psyche.

These past three months have deinitely been a learning curve for me, not just on the exterior, but the restitution of everything that I lost along the way. Someone commented a while back that the woman they met in Berlin was only a shadow of the person I used to be, that they barely recognised me anymore. Truer words were never spoken nor hurt so deeply. The pieces have been put back together now, some discarded, but now it is time to restore the fire within.

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