The past was terrible. It was lonely and painful. The past filled you with memories that dance around you like shadows. It has made you feel crazy and chaotic, broken and weak. Maybe your family gave up on you because of it, or maybe you gave up on yourself. Maybe you look into the mirror and you hate the body that you live in. You hate your body, all the way down to every vein that twists and turns inside of you, keeping your heart beating. Perhaps it’s because you see the person you used to be in that glass reflection. Perhaps it’s because the person you became is nowhere near your heightened expectations.
We are all full of different perceptions, different perspectives. The ways in which we see the world, the ways we view the people living and breathing around us, is what makes us who we are. Including the way that we see ourselves.
Sometimes, we are our own worst enemies. We build walls around our souls, burn bridges and break our own hearts. We become the monsters that we constantly tell ourselves we are. But that’s not how it always has to be.
We can be strong and brave despite our mistakes and imperfections. We can be great and mighty regardless of the people we were before. We can kill off the old versions of ourselves, make them exist only in places that make us better.
We can be better. We just have to allow ourselves.
There is a girl who lives in the forest. Every morning, she wakes up to the cacophony of birdsong outside her bedroom windows and the rays of sunlight that pour in from behind the canopy of trees. She makes a pot of coffee and stares outside to see the beauty that surrounds her. The trees stand spirit-like, observing the girl’s house that looms above and around them. When she opens her kitchen windows to the wooded air, she can almost smell the coppery scent of the river that lies within the heart of the forest. She closes her eyes and breathes in. Her nose fills with the sweet smell that radiates off the beds of pine needles covering the forest floor.
It smells like home, she thinks.
The man she loves comes up behind her and wraps her up in his embrace, kissing her neck and playing gently with her hair. She spins around and flashes him a smile, digging her head into his shoulder. Her children are still asleep.
This girl has lived here for quite some time, her soul craving serenity and her thoughts seeking retreat. Closing my eyes, I can see her. Freckles mark her face in patterns. Pale skin stretches over bones worn from experience yet blossoming with strength. Eyes filled with the reflections of her memories.
This girl exists only inside the crevices of my mind, just beyond my eyelids, in between thoughts that rage and fly across membranes. She is a part of me, in a way, and she lives a life I’ve never known but always wanted to experience. Her heart beats the same rhythm as mine, and her soul is filled with the same hurt as me. I am like her but, at the same time, I am not. She is better than I am, full of more grace and patience. Full of more strength. Full of all the things I’ve always wanted to be.
I believe that I created her at times when loneliness consumed me and thoughts of a better life would not leave me alone. I think that she began to exist because I could no longer stand myself, because I needed to feel like there was more to me than just bouts of sadness and fits of rage.
In some ways, creating her saved me. In others, it did not. Either way, I am no longer alone.
We all have skeletons in our closets. We all have ghosts who come from our past that follow us and haunt us. They peek their heads out at our most vulnerable times. They pick at our thought processes and disrupt our dreams. We think that we are nothing without them, that our past failures and mistakes run our lives. We procure this belief in our minds that we will always be our past, that our futures are reliant on all of the things which we’ve done before.
There is no reason to keep walking around aimlessly in the graveyard of regrets that fear has built up around you. Put your hand on your chest. Your heart lives there. It’s still beating, even after all that you have been through. Don’t allow it to beat for nothing. Declare yourself alive and live the life that you were put on this earth to live. There’s no reason not to.
Stop punishing yourself for those things that you did years ago. You cannot hold the guilt inside forever, it will kill you. Forgive yourself. That’s the only way that you will be able to move on. I know that it’s easier said than done. I know that forgiveness and letting go are some of the hardest things to do, especially when it comes to forgiving ourselves.
It’s a crazy thing, really, that the person who we are hardest on, the one which we chastise and hurt the most, is ourselves. We need to start learning how to love ourselves at our most unlovable moments, to let our hearts work through the most painful things without breaking. Doing that is the only way we will be able to get rid of the ghosts who haunt us, and to stop allowing the skeletons in our closets to run our lives.
The mistakes that we have made are what make us beautiful and strong. They shape us to become better versions of ourselves. We do not have to wallow in the guilt of the past. We do not have to sit in the darkness of what once was.
We do not.