Aug 23, 2007

It took me a long time to make peace with my past. Like twenty years or something. And just when I thought I had, someone from that past reared up and did something that tore my guts up all over again. The second time around didn't hurt quite so much though. I guess deep down I was almost expecting it. A family thing, you know. And we all know how families are.

I used to get so upset when I heard things like this. But, I have changed. Perhaps it is because I feel that nothing much can hurt me now. Certain things just don't carry the same "sting" they once did. And, I have learned compassion from the events of my life. It has given me empathy for those I see going through what I have been through. But, damn, if it doesn't make you tougher, too.

There was a point in my life where I realized I was in a virtual self-help book of my own creation. I had embarked on a continual course of self-improvement. Then, suddenly, I decided, I was fine just the way I was. I didn't stop learning. I just stopped trying to improve. I looked at myself, saw the bad things, the good things, and accepted it. Of course that was around menopause....when one is apt to say or think just about anything. But this seemed to feel right inside my skin.

There are terrible scenes recorded in our minds that we can play endlessly if we choose. I keep them locked in a box in my mind.

Sometimes, if I need to, I take a peek inside, and remember, yes, you lived through that, you will live through this. This is how you coped with that situation, now maybe you can cope with this one. And that is the only reason I look into that box. There are those who choose to live in that box.

Sometimes they even wallow in it. And you know them. They want so much to move from point A to point B, but they remain forever at point A, because of the box. These people will tell you endlessly about why they can't move on. They will point to this scene and that scene in the box, and some of the scenes are memorized, detail by detail, and recalled instantaneously for their audience of the moment, whether that audience wants to hear it or not.

Some shrink might say that I compartmentalize my thoughts or feelings. They may also say this is or isn't a good thing. But that shrink does not live inside my head.

I have also found that the willingness to forgive is a powerful thing. Once you say in your heart, or in words, I forgive this person for this crime, or this action, you are free of that crime or action. And the perpetrator is left with no more tears to feed on. No more fear to plump their egos with. It doesn't matter whether they admit to guilt or not. The point is you have acknowledged their guilt, the consequences of their actions, and what they do with that information is up to them. It can be a freeing experience, unless, like the scenes in the box, you thrive on the anger and the torment. And some people do. And you have met them, as well.


Anonymous said...

Good morning Deb. I love this post. Have read it several times. There's so much to take in.

I agree there comes a time to stop certain habits such as: allowing the past to control the present; carrying around resentment, hatred, and anger; and the quest for self-improvement.

Trapping monsters and locking them in a box really works. Every now and then you have to look to make sure they're still in there and not standing right behind you.

This time of life could be called monsterpause.

SpongyBones said...

Way to go. Desting them killer B's and make them your slaves in the box!

alphonsedamoose said...

Deb: you should write a self-help book. Yo make more sense than any of them.

Mary said...

That was the clearest explanation of forgiveness I have ever heard. I could never wrap my brain around forgiving to free yourself. Now I see.

Anne said...

Thanks, I needed to read this because sometimes I get too wrapped up in the past. I think it's a good thing to look at our past and use it to learn, or sometimes even to help others, as long as it doesn't paralyze us. I'm still working on that.

Nick said...

Fantastic post just me...made me think.

foam said...

the only self-improvement quest i'm on is to stay healthy and ideally to improve my health....had a bit of a scare earlier this year.
i have securely locked monster boxes too...although sometimes they slip out.
great post.

BRUNO said...

Some of us just need bigger and stronger boxes than others!

I kinda liked the way Babzy put it: "Check every now and then to make sure they're still in there!"

But don't leave the keys where just ANYONE can find them, OK?

david mcmahon said...

There is a certain strength, even in the hard-to-accept memories.

God bless


Shrink Wrapped Scream said...

Well THIS shrink says, you've pretty much got it all sown up, bonny lass! It all boils down to allowing yourself to be comfortable inside your own skin, accepting responsibility for what you are, and disowning all that other shit that some would like you to carry around for them. Here's to a wise lady, and to one who is much loved by many. ((hugs))

just me said...

Thank you guys for good thoughts. I tried to clarify this a little more in my next post, but please heed the warning.

Bruno: You are right of course. Some of us carry around memories that the largest box in the world could not contain.

Babzy: If they are standing right behind them, take their hand and lead them back to the box. That's the whole purpose of the box. You control them. Something might triggerone to slip out, but you need only to examine it, glean why it slipped out, and stuff it back in there.

Carol: Good to see you.

Nick: Hope the boys are well, and have exhausted their supply of bathroom humor.

Moose: A self-help book. How about the Old Lady's Guide to Staying Whip-Ass Sane? HA!

David: I think you've got the point.

Foam: Good to see you here. I love your blog. Wonderful read, folks, I suggest you check it out, if you haven't already.

Anne: I think you've got it, as well...the point I mean...

Mary: The power of forgiveness is complex and simple at the same time. I could write pages on what I have learned and am still learning about it all. And, no, it ain't easy. Good things never are.

Spongy: Good to see you here as always. Love it when young attractive males stop by. Even if they just say boo.

Enemy of the Republic said...

Still working on it.