They say that we have to leave our downfalls behind us if we want to move forward. I guess there’s something to this, right?
They say that the past is gone. We don’t live there anymore, nor do we have to. Then again, we also live in this thing called the real world. No one here is impenetrable. No one can say that they’ve never dealt with poor decisions or lived with no regrets. No one can say that they’ve never wished for a “take back” or a “do-over.”
It would be inaccurate to say that our future has never been shaped by the outcomes of our past. It would also be inaccurate to say that who we are has nothing to do with our chronological background.
Everything we’ve seen or felt is a lesson. We learn from each other and we learn from our experiences. Sometimes we overlook the obvious and we miss the warning signs. What do we do then, huh?
Do we beat ourselves up? Do we blame each other?
Who we are is certainly a product of our upbringing. Then again, fate can change the same as life can change.
It’s a choice – look back or look ahead.
Relive the past or recreate ourselves to make a new future.
It’s a choice to stand or to retreat. It is a choice to change or stay the same and it’s a choice to do one of two things – either we live or we exist.
People can spend lifetimes trying to outrun themselves. We can run from the truth. We can run from ourselves. We can hide from the way we feel but in the end, wherever you go, there you are.
We can deny ourselves. We can suppress our past and we can deny what happened or what we’ve done and what we’ve lived through. We want to get rid of this. We want to get rid of the shame but for some reason, we just can’t shake it. This can literally be about anything from a betrayal or a moment of all-out war and an argument that broke the chains which bonded us together.
Somehow, we can’t get rid of the memories.
We want to get rid of the past but as much as we want to be free, we can’t seem to let this go.
We turn hurt into frustration and frustration becomes rage which becomes a wall around us. This becomes a layer between us and the rest of the world. If we are not careful, this can fester like a sore or become cancerous.
Let it go, they say.
Let the past go.
Let go of the mistakes.
Make peace with yourself.
But what is peace?
What does this mean?
As a person who has wronged others and as someone who has made mistakes and lived with shame, I can say that I have found myself in the darkness of my thoughts. I swore that I would never be rid of this and that I would never be able to make amends or forgive myself.
What does this mean to forgive one’s self anyway?
All I saw was me. I saw the outcomes of my character flaws and the consequences of my actions. Not only this, I saw what my selfish, self-centeredness does to me as well as other people. There were times when I didn’t mean for the outcomes to happen. I was lost in my thoughts and disconnected by fears and personal frustrations.
I had given in and given up as a result of my resentments. I gave in to my moments of shame and questioned myself as if I was always the key ingredient.
There were moments in my life when I saw myself as deserving of this; therefore, I accepted my misery as somewhat of a fitting punishment.
(I think this is what they call depression.)
As far as I wanted to run from myself, I could never get away. I couldn’t escape the things I said or did nor could I get away from the things that had happened to me. Not to mention the fact that I did not want to accept that this was me; that this was my life. But it was.
Of course, this is when someone comes along and says, “Hey, you need to let it go.”
Really? Now, why didn’t I think of that?
I wondered if this was possible.
Would I always regard myself this way?
I wondered how long is “always” because, at the time, I swore that I would always feel the same.
It is important to understand that the details of our past have had an influence in our lives. Then again, our past does not have to determine our future. The fact remains that change is possible and people can, will and do improve – even from the worst episodes in life, people can recover.
There are people who’ve wondered if anyone has ever died from a broken heart. Or, how long is “always” because in the moment, we believe that we will always feel the same.
You move and you try. You think and you debate. You contemplate the ends and justify the means. You try to figure out how to navigate through your thoughts just to make it through the day. You blame yourself. You try to find accountability. You want to hide. You want to push a button – you want everything to just stop or just go away. You want the thoughts to stop, but the ideas keep coming.
(I think this is what they call anxiety.)
I remember being told, “You have to give things time.” I was told that “All wounds heal in time” and then again, I was also told not to pick my scabs because the wounds would never heal.
But isn’t this what we do?
We relive the past; therefore, how can we heal? How can we find comfort?
How can we let anything go when we’ve done nothing else but grip this so tightly?
Or better yet, how can we see a future when all we do is live in the past?
There was a time when I found myself in a doctor’s office. I was trying to find ways to calm down. I wanted to get rid of the anxious thinking. I wanted to get rid of the shameful byproducts of my past choices. But how?
I wanted to step away from my feelings of angst and be rid of my hatred. But how?
I was told that I was not depressed. I was told that I was anxious; that I was stressed out and because of this, I was depressed.
The question I had was which one came first: depression or anxiety? Isn’t this like the question, which came first, the chicken or the egg?
Put simply, my mind was revolting against myself. My behaviors and decisions betrayed me. I followed a path of most resistance and perhaps the reason for this is because I didn’t believe there was any other way –
How do we get away from ourselves?
Give time, time.
I couldn’t let go. Or, maybe I simply didn’t know how?
Or better yet, the feelings I had at the time were too overwhelming and because this was true, I never thought I’d be able to escape.
This is where recovery comes in.
This is why I found myself at the verge of a great rebuild, which was not easy. I had nothing and came from what seemed like nothing. I was alone.
From what I could tell, I would always be alone. But again, always is not always true.
People will tell you that you have to believe.
That you have to keep going
That you can’t quit
That you have to find a way to push through
To live and breathe
But at the time, all I could do was wonder how . . .
How am I going to get through this?
How do I get up?
How do I get out of bed when all I want to do is bury myself beneath the sheets?
I can say that minutes become hours and hours become days. Days become weeks and weeks become months. Next, months can become years and if we allow time to pull off its trick, we can find redemption. We can find peace. We can heal and we can create a new life. But, if we are going to do this then yes, we have to leave our downfalls behind us.
We can remember our history. But if we live in the past then we will always be the outcome of our past; in which case, “always” can be a very long time.
We have to find a method to replace our thoughts with actions. And for me . . . this was it.
Me coming here to see you and entering these journals was not only lifesaving; but more, this was a way that I could relieve myself from the energy that drained me.
I could leave this here with you because you are my most special and trusted friend. I could allow myself a voice and whether the day ahead would be kind or otherwise, at least I had this place in my heart.
There were times when I spent hours just writing to you. My fingers took on the energy of my emotions and as I typed, I enjoyed the clacking sounds of my fingers as they punched the keys. I allowed this sound to satisfy my discomforts by proving that yes, I do exist. I am alive and I don’t need to bleed. And that yes, I do feel this way but also, yes, I can do something to feel better.
I had to find an outlet and here it is. Right here in this moment between us.
I will not say that I have recovered completely from myself nor will I say that I have recovered completely from my anxiety or depression. I can see where my internal narcissist comes from and how this has created more damage and that yes, there are times when my selfish thinking takes hold. I lose sight of the person I am and choose to be. I suppose they call this regression.
I am a work in progress. I am a person in need of a searching and fearless moral inventory on a daily basis and when the time is right and the place is comfortable, I can admit to the exact nature of my wrongs – so I can heal.
This doesn’t mean the world will coincide or pardon me for my mistakes. All this means is that I can remove myself from my past.
I can change. I can improve. I can do anything.
I just have to choose –
I was taught a few acronyms of F.E.A.R.
First, I was told this is False Evidence Appearing Real.
Then I was told this was Fuck Everything And Run
Or, we could Face Everything And Recover.
I was told this is all a choice –
So, choose wisely.