The Before Times
I originally wrote this on October 28, 2020. Before sobriety, before clarity. Before a lot of things that three years have brought me. And way before I came to this moment of clarity: move what matters forward.
I need to or am working on not bringing all the shit I dealt with forward with me. You know, that old programming, the darkness, the anger, all of it. Healing for me means that I let myself out of the prison others built, but I have been keeping myself in for years.
What matters is what you do going forward. That is what I have always thought. And I still think that. But here is the part I was missing – I never looked back. Instead, I pushed myself ever forward, no matter what. I never wanted to look back. That darkness was too scary to face.
And so I have stumbled through the world, pushing ever forward with the momentum born from desperation.
I knew one thing: I was failing if I wasn’t moving forward. And I could not fail.
I grew up in a house filled with regret. My mother was so focused on the past and the choices she did or did not make that she could never look ahead. She was shackled in the past. It was a prison of her own and one she would never escape. I haven’t spoken to her in ten years; sadly, I doubt she has changed.
In her constant regret, she blamed her life choices on me. Or that is what she tried to do anyway. It probably worked more than I thought as I sit here struggling with worthlessness.
Let’s face it. It’s hard to throw off that mantle of responsibility when you are a child and only know that when you accept that blame, even with your silence, it somehow helps, even for a short time.
“You ruined my life.”
“If I hadn’t had children, I would be happy.”
“This is all your fault.”
Those are just a few of the nuggets of regrets that my mother would blame on me.
Now (as of October 2020), I realize that having no regrets should mean looking at the decisions or choices I have in front of me, and making the best decision based on what I know now. And try not to apply the evil 20/20 hindsight to that decision.
The key thought here is also of what is in front of me, NOT behind me.
Learn from History
2023 me here. What happened when I was constantly looking forward was that I refused to look at or address the past. I wasn’t healing those past traumas.
Those past traumas rattled the bars of the cage I had built to carry them with me. They constantly reminded me I needed to feed them with my old programming.
In doing so, I never could move forward. Not really. I was just as stuck as if I had never left my abusive home. To move forward, I had to look at the past, really look at it, and then work my way forward. But do it this time. I was truly setting myself free from my cage.
When we don’t look at and learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it. No matter our intentions.
To move forward, I must reconcile my past.