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The Past that Follows

How do I move on when the past is a part of me?

“Scars remind us that the past was real..”

– Shakespeare

I struggle with the present. I know it’s a “gift” and all but I’ve always dwelled on the past and worried about the future. I have moments of laughter with friends, contentment in my surroundings, or pride of my actions where I know I’m happy in the moment. True euphoria. I cherish and recognize these moments because of their rarity.

Everyone has had obstacles to overcome and in that we can all relate. Unfortunately I don’t often meet many with similar experiences to me, leaving me feeling isolated and without the understanding I for some reason so desperately crave. I’ve overcome my obstacles, but in a way I’ve been unable to move on. Traumatic in nature, some of my experiences have shaped me into who I am today. So I ask again-

How can I move on when the past is a part of me?

“My yesterdays walk with me. They keep step, they are gray faces that peer over my shoulder.”

William Golding

The reason I try so hard to make others laugh is because I know what it’s like to be in pain. The reason I ask frequently for reassurance is because I’ve been told enough times I’m worthless. The reason I worry is because I struggle with mental health. The the reason I strive to be kind is because I don’t ever want to treat anyone in the undeserving manner I’ve been treated in. I don’t want to perpetuate the cycle of hurt and cynicism that I’ve witnessed.  I want to be a ray of sunshine that brightens people’s day. A reminder that, as cheesily as it sounds, that like Samwise Gamgee said in Lord of the Rings Two Towers, there’s some good in this world and its worth fighting for.

My past has shaped me. To move on from it is to move on from myself. To forget it is to fight the daily battle I fight to overcome the challenges that continue on from my past and the lasting effects of some experiences. To accept that in some cases I don’t get closure is to leave my world tangled.

At the same time I can’t continue to let the past distract from the present. Too often I spend too much time wrestling with thoughts of times gone by. What happened in primary school shouldn’t be effecting me now. But it does. Questions of what if shouldn’t keep me up at night. But they do. Those moments could be spent being present, being content, being appreciative of the amazing people and things in my life. There’s enough in the present to think about without the past clouding my judgement.

“We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.”

Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for?

The past made me who I am, and I shouldn’t forget who I am. But I can’t let the past take over. It may have a place in my life but not at the expense of my happiness. I don’t know how to change the past’s power. I don’t know how to alter my ways, thoughts, or patterns. But I know I must try. The past might have led me to where I am but I can’t let it dictate my life. I can appreciate the good and bad that’s come before and it’s place in my journey without letting it define me.