In our lives and existence, we face times of existential quarry. We find ourselves, now more than ever, feeling alone and unconnected to the people closest to us. Forgetful knowledge of how we all share the same ability to yearn, hurt, and lust for belonging is commonplace by today’s standards. It is in these times and many more throughout our lives that we desperately long for our souls to be seen for what they truly are—and to be accepted, wholeheartedly. Without this acceptance, and the acceptance of ourselves, we cannot grow to our fullest potential.
Benjamen Kilgore knows this to be true, and appropriately unveils himself for acceptance in his new work Growing Pains. The Texas-born writer of this collaborative effort along with his artistic wife, Megan; Benjamen uses his past and personal feelings towards his own journey to self-acceptance to paint a poetic roadmap for the reader as they navigate their own introspectional highway to redemption.
The book serves as a sort of tangible walkabout into the mind and emotional caverns of Benjamen. Being sexually abused at an early age and tussling with the subsequent mental anguish throughout his adolescence, Ben began jotting his feelings down in the form of poems. The snippets hold value as commencement stamps of a youthful mind ravaged by confusion and anguish. These pieces that make up the publication are hand selected by the couple to compose a framework dedicated to sharing the inner battle for personal-reckoning that plagues so many young adults today. Ben and Megan find themselves with Growing Pains using each other as a springboard for displaying their intimate interpretations and acceptance of each other. Similarly, the collection speaks as their way of offering that same acceptance to those who read it.
“When someone picks up this book, I want them to initially be uncomfortable.” says the book’s illustrator Megan. She continues, “As they progress throughout the book, I want them to see that people like them go through these kinds of things. And, although they can’t yet see the silver-lining, they can see that you can get through it and come out the other side okay.” Along the same lines of thought, Benjamen states that he hopes readers of the book can relate to its contents to best that they can. “Your deepest hurt is your deepest hurt,” he says. “I hope that there is a connection there when reading and a ‘Bondage of Broken Hearts’ almost. I know what it feels like to feel how you feel to the best way I know—here’s how I got out of it.”
One’s path toward redemption can be paved with struggle, pain, shame, and despair. Growing Pains illuminates that each lain brick of suffering on the pathway builds our road towards growth, understanding, love, and acceptance of the people we chose to become on the other side.