My past does not define me. Except it does.
Is it possible to quantify your existence? To break down a vast ocean of feelings, perpetual mind flow and complexity of intellect into a scale from 1 to 10? I believe the modern world teaches us we should. And while we sit there, trying to break our personalities down into decimals, we tend to forget there is a whole cosmic cocktail of broken relationships, utter disappointments, overwhelming nostalgia and inner battles, which in reality defines us.
Do I romanticize my past too much? Perhaps. I used to speak of it only when intoxicated. Sipping liquor until I became content with my anxiety. Wondering how others accustomed themselves to inherently fake social climate filled with cheap imitations of what we should be according to global media. After emptying so many glasses I’d lost count, I’d start openly proclaiming my ambitions and dreams to anyone within my reach. Only to meet pitying gazes of future lawyers and doctors who have never given credit to art.
I glance at my wall length mirror, sitting down with legs crossed and spine unhealthily bent, to see a reflection of an insecure 16-year-old girl. Instead, I meet the eyes of a woman I hardly recognize. You are wise beyond your years, was what people had told me at that age. I wonder what they would say now.
As I reflect on my life, I tend to ask myself questions rather than spill out fact by fact in an orderly timeline. Did the occasional seasons of stagnancy flood me with uncertainty? Did my self-imposed “Trauma Olympics” force me into endless wretched cycles of feeling down? When did I stop believing I was destined for greatness? Who and what am I?
Many things. I am concrete speckled with raindrops. Poorly pronounced café au lait. Ripe orange clouds fading away as the golden hour passes. Self-admitted overachiever pondering on metaphysics. Still, I am more than the wasted eagerly fist-pumping teenage girl eye-sweeping the dancefloor, hoping to find somebody who’d save me from myself and offer me redemption. I cannot deny my past. I cannot ignore neither the scars on my wrists nor the unpredictable outbursts of sadness that haunt me down occasionally. However, I’ve grown to love the broken parts of wretched former self. Even if that means forever swallowing the enormous lump in my throat, or dealing with panic attacks, or surviving insomniac nights exhausted from reminiscing about fruitless search of self-love. Luckily, I have outgrown many amongst my ghosts. My career successes, my big projects, dreams and aspirations taught me that I can be my own band-aid, yet I will never be able to undo the damage I inflicted upon myself.
Healing is not linear. It consists of overcoming opinion of shallow people’s projection of a perfect life onto me. It consists of realizing you’ve spent a major part of your life wearing a mask. All for the sake of being what is considered “successful.” The quest to creating a meaningful life lies solely on yourself. That is why I ceaselessly encourage people to voice their ideas. To Love. Feel. Embrace. Embody. To rise from the ruins of their past. To rebuild themselves. Take pride in their damage. And bloom.