Note: This post may sound incredibly vague; I wanted to be honest, but not include specific details because I have no way of knowing what will or will not happen. Please be respectful of that.
Not too long ago, my Mom and I were looking through old family photos to use for a picture board at my brother's graduation/going away party. She happened to find a picture of me where I was wearing this trademark grin of mine; the kind of smile that where anyone who sees it usually knows that I'm extremely happy, for whatever reason. Still looking at, she said "you used to be so happy...what happened?"
This wasn't the first time she had asked that kind of question. In past occurrences, I had always blamed it on the pitfalls of middle school and nothing else. I used to say to myself, if none of that stuff had happened, maybe things would be different. Sure, they would be different, but it’s hard to speculate how exactly.
There have been times where if I had had the chance to do so, I would go back and re-do certain things. But in retrospect, I understand that those things did take place for a reason; had they not, I probably wouldn’t have met some incredibly beautiful people. I wouldn’t have come to understand that there is something bigger than myself, and that it’s important for me to have a sense of faith and spirituality in my life.
When I really think about it, I find it better that I experienced all of that stuff during a time that isn’t so monumental (generally speaking) rather than have to experience it during high school or even college. It was a stepping stone into different chapters of my life; chapters that ultimately led me to where I need to be as of right now.
Right now, I’m beginning to understand that there was another big factor that contributed to that time in my life. Deep down I probably knew about it from the time I was ten, but preferred more to look the other way and try to pretend that it didn’t exist. But like every struggle, it doesn’t matter how old you get or where you run to in order to escape it, it will still be there until you learn to face it head on.
And even though I am willing to face this reality, as well as other realities that may follow suit, I admit that sometimes I really have no idea how to cope with it.
One of the main things that has been really bugging me is when people in my life have said (and continue to say) “I can’t change” or, “because of such and such, this is how I am and there is nothing that I or anyone else can do about it.”
Personally, I think that’s a load of crap.
I understand that there are some aspects that one cannot change; some can’t change the way they were raised or the hardships they had to deal with. But regardless of what happens, everyone has a choice when it comes to how they’re going to respond to it.
For a long time, I had adopted that line of thinking: I began to tell myself that I couldn’t change because of what I went through. Maybe my life was just going to be full of fear, anger, missed opportunities and unhealthy relationships.
However, that kind of negativity was definitely not getting me anywhere.
And that is what baffles me so much about those that live by that particular attitude. It probably makes sense because it is so much easier than taking responsibility for your actions or at least trying to make an effort to heal. But I have seen children pay a high price because their parents weren’t willing to get themselves together. I have seen the parents of those parents bend over backwards trying to clean up the messes of their grown up children, when they should have been taking the time to enjoy their retirement benefits.
Which leads me to ask, if not for yourself, then isn’t your family and/or the people you love enough of a motivation?
I want to rise above my personal history, as well as my family history, and live my own life. There are things that I have forgotten how to do, and I need to learn how to go about doing those things in order to become emotionally healthy again. I am seriously considering getting counseling when I go back to school. But I also need to surround myself with good people who are willing to hold me accountable for my actions and to let me know when to stop being so damn stubborn.
If there is one thing that I am grateful for, it’s that I’m realizing this stuff now instead of ten or twenty years down the road. But while I may going through a tough time, that does not mean that I am going to wallow in pain and become a bitter person because of it. Unlike five years ago, I know that healing is not waiting for the wounds to close up, but rather moving forward and working toward becoming whole again.