This morning my sister asked me a question in the middle of packing for my trip back to Uni.
“If you could, would you change your life so far?”
It was a fairly straightforward question with a simple answer, “No.”
I was shocked to be honest at the decisiveness of my answer and the answer itself. There are so many instances in my life that I wish never happened, so many wounds that refuses to scab over and so many tears that it surprises my to this day that I still have tears left to shed. So why would I not want to change all those moments or better yet erase them all together and lead a different life? A life that would be less problematic, less convoluted and not fraught with regrets that are not mine to bear; why shouldn’t I want that?
Here’s the thing though, all those bad experiences and agony made me who I am today. And even though it often takes a lot of effort on my part, I am slowly beginning to love who I am at the moment. Believe me when I say loving myself is one of the hardest things I have done so far. After every encounter I have glued myself back together, the jagged edges becoming more and more prominent to the point that I stopped hiding them and started wearing them as badges of honour. I survived and I am broken, but I survived and nothing is ever going to diminish that. Perhaps this is why I am comfortable not changing my past, because that’s just what it is; the past.
It may sound odd but some of the most clarifying moments of my life came as I started getting help for my depression. There is only so much that I can carry and my inheritance of anger, mistrust and accusations won’t be one of them. I won’t stew in the sense of righteousness that the universe, the world owes me better for all the hardships I have endured. It doesn’t and it probably won’t. There is no greater sense of justice or karma that will ensure a balanced scale for my life. The bad will most likely outweigh the good and I will probably grit my teeth and move forward because that’s all I know to do. Yes, it will get tiring and once in a while the question as old as time will slip past my lips, “Why me?” and the world will still keep turning, because why not?
My past isn’t just a closed chapter in a book, it’s very much what shapes my present. I can’t change it, I can’t wish it away and I most importantly I can’t keep clutching it like a drowning man in the sea. What I can do is the one thing I am actually good at and that is learn. Learn that holding onto grudges chips away at my existence like acid rain on marble. Learn that forgiveness doesn’t mean I have to forget and that moving past it doesn’t mean quiet acceptance of a misdeed. This is what I choose to do with my past. I choose to define my past in quantities of hit and miss, a milestone out of many and in qualities of kindness and cruelty, frailty and strength and a patchwork of thoughts that are uniquely mine.
As Infactorium so beautifully puts it,
“I cannot fight my history. I do not close the door on my past. It informs my present, it informs my self.”
I started writing this on the 11th, but in between packing, two flights and a terrible case of sore throat and jet lag, it’s finally finished.