Sitting here in my childhood bedroom, it’s pretty difficult not to reminisce.
I mean, it’s strewn with photos from my brace-faced awkward middle school phase where clearly I thought baby pink, glittery eyeshadow was a good idea.
There’s something about the tangibleness of it all that just really brings me back to those times
One of the “memory exercises” I’ve been doing to help my mom, is that we’ve been looking at old photo albums. And I mean…wow.
Let’s just say, the 90’s were somethin’ else. I look at some of the crazy things we were wearing, and I’m torn between cringing, and secretly coveting those neon nylon glory days.
But flipping through the big, bulky albums with yellowing pages and fading 5 X 7’s, I actually was getting a little weepy.
Seeing these pictures of myself as a little tyke, I suddenly remembered just how good life was as a child.
Having gone through a pretty desolate period in my adolescence – my battle with anorexia – it does things to your memories. It taints them. Makes you not want to remember anything. It sort of, creates this black hole in your history. And even now, as a healthy and thriving young woman, I just don’t like to look back, period. In an act of self preservation, I tend just to avoid my personal history all together. Including the time before my disease, too.
It’s like, I just don’t want to turn my eyes to the past, because I’ll inevitably have to think about “The Dark Ages.”
But something happened last night. Sitting and seeing 5 year old me, 7 year old me….I wanted to remember. I was looking at those photos and getting all verklempt, because I had a good childhood.
I really did.
I think if I’m being really honest with myself, I think it was another little self-sabotage to not allow myself to remember the good parts of my past, by getting so hung up on that one period of time. Granted, it was a horrific and utterly destructive time period, but what I’m coming to realize — is that I can choose to reclaim my past.
I can choose to look back in despair and regret, or I can choose to remember the good.
I can choose to say, You know what? Yes, I did have a pretty shitty chunk of time where I was hurtful to myself and my loved ones, but that’s not my whole history.
Sure, I was the girl that battled a severe case of anorexia, but I was also the child who, at 5 years old, loved to go up to the old ladies at McDonald’s and sing to them. I was the girl who came alive on stage and had a passion for the arts. I was the goofy kid who loved making comedy movies with friends and dressing up and talking in accents.
And I’ll be damned if I let that part of my past rob me of those joyous memories by wracking me with guilt and shame and an unwillingness to look back for fear of remembering the dark.
And honestly, how selfish of me to arrogantly turn my back on the beautiful childhood I had, because of that one blip on the radar. (Well, okay maybe not a blip…more like…a storm front with tornadac activity).
But it is such a powerful perspective…right now, my mom…what she wouldn’t give to be able to remember those precious moments that I’m so insolently choosing to avoid because “it hurts to look back.”
It’s time to take back those memories. Allow myself to see the good. The joy. The laughter. The precious moments that shaped who I am and were shared with people I love.
Because at the end of the day, life is messy. And if I’ve learned anything in my time around the sun, it’s that everybody has shit. (Excuse my french.) Evvvvverybody has things in their past (or present) that they’re not proud of. That they’re working on. That hurts to remember. Everybody.
But really, that is a victory. And the Good Lord knows, I’m in need of one of those lately…no matter how small or seemingly insignificant.
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