Looking at the past is a horrifying concept for me funnily enough. I do enjoy telling stories about myself, hence that time I almost died, since it tends to remind me that I am actually sort of interesting. Sometimes.
And yet the thought of sitting and facing the mountain of issues and memories I hoard in my brain is a big no no. I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready. But I do want to reflect on this piece I wrote for myself (no the irony does not escape me) about two years ago.
Sometimes remembering things make me panic.
I’ve travelled to a fair number of places in the past few years, alone and not really knowing what was coming next. Which is funny if I really think about it in detail, because I’ve always felt most comfortable when I know what my plans are for the future.
But once in a while I experience a wave of inspiration, or uneasiness, or deep unsettledness. When I feel these things my immediate reaction is to run away to a place far away. Not the safest bet, but the one that I fall back on time and time again.
I have run from Africa to the States, then from the States to different parts of Europe. Some adventures have obviously rendered better outcomes than others, such is the ebb and flow of luck and life, but in each journey I struggled to find the peace of mind I so desperately craved.
Thinking back on my mistakes I made in childhood often sets off my internal alarms. I’m often unable to face them and I turn away to make more mistakes in the present. When the present becomes too much to bear, I will simply hop on a plane and start all over again, since it’s easier than watching my problems eat me alive.
But what happens when I don’t want to leave? And when the old emotions come barrelling towards me with added fierceness for being ignored and outrun for so damned long? What happens when I don’t want to leave, but I can’t face my memories?
I panic. I see ghosts. I cry and I laugh and I bury myself in any distraction I can find. I create different problems that I can handle having. I do my best to continue living in the only way I know how. I panic.
What a fabulous mental place I was in back then.
Now the interesting about this is, I’ve grown older, but I still hold some of these feelings, this still feels like something I would write. Also it doesn’t.
I have spent the last year wondering about myself as I’m sure most people at the bottom end of twenty do. I have had many conversations with people that I love about why I am the way that I am. I have certainly grown past that girl who only sees life as a distraction from her own ghosts. I have acknowledged the ghosts and I have learned to live life while I hold their hands.
The person that wrote this piece was afraid of her new life crumbling around her. As it has done so many times before. I have started over many, many times. I have also quit many, many times. That was how I saved myself from even more pain, I thought, start over and the sense of newness will carry you through your misery.
But I have learned something, by reading this piece as the new person I am, that newness does not have to come from running away. You don’t have to look for happiness in people you’ve never met simply because the people you have are upset with you in that very moment. And being the person who runs away is not who you want to be.
I suppose what I am trying to say is that I am still afraid of my memories. I am still afraid of negative emotions and conflict and failure. But I will not distract myself from them anymore. I may panic and stress and worry but I have learned to face it.
Perhaps we are all scared of those things. I suggest you dig out an old thought in any form it may come, and realise how far you’ve come. The past may be kinder to you than you may think.