Leaving The Past In The Past

Is it that easy though? To just leave the past in the past?

There’s been something running through my mind a lot lately. I am tired of being told that I need to “just forget about what happened before, you have to stop thinking about it – it’s not good for you”… Don’t you think I would much rather NOT think about it. The only thing I can do is not talk about it. In order to make others more comfortable I need to seriously filter my words. I’m not saying living in the past is healthy, but let’s face it our memories reside within us – and just trying to forget about it is both unhealthy and impossible.

I’m certainly not trying to say that everyone is this way, but in my experience growing up, being an adult, working in the social services field, having children, friendships and in family this has been a hard pill to swallow sometimes. It’s fucking impossible to not think about it. That is the kicker, the lasting wound that I am left with still many years later. It’s like asking me to scrape off my scars and start anew, fresh – if we can’t see it – it’s over.

But, you know what – it’s not over. It may not be brand new pain, I don’t need to give it all my energy. In fact I believe I have done so well managing my relentless heartache and pain. And I know I am not alone in this minute by minute, day by day, and year after year we try to heal ourselves.

I worked so hard from as long as I can remember to be better than all that and to now allow it to run – or worse ruin my chances at a better life. To be a better person, kind, forgiving, open-minded, and loving human being. I knew that my chances of coming out of it all – unscathed and a productive member of society. And to you that may seem obvious – of course we are trying to be a good person, of course we want to do well for ourselves. But this wasn’t in our reality growing up, not even one little bit. I was told from day one I was not worth the air I was taking up in this world.

For years my mother only told me how much she regretted having me. She resented my dreams to escape all that came with our family. She would ask me who that fuck did I think I was? Do you think your better than us? Cause you aren’t Carrie. You can think you are better, but you will end up just like us one day. And, well my father only referred to me as the “rat” in the family for most of my childhood well into my early twenties he blamed all that went wrong on the fact that I told people the truth. Why couldn’t I just learn to keep my big fucking trap shut??? Both my parents repeated this constantly.

You know my brother and sister both struggled the most with this. They believed that they couldn’t speak out -because our parents were beating that into our heads. They would scream into our faces that what happens in this fucking house – stays in this house! I don’t know why they were less resilient than I was, this fact eats me alive. But I believe the fact that I was given the courage to speak out is what saved my life. Talking about it saved my life. I am a resilient human being and this has served me many chances at a better life. Sometimes though, this can be a detriment to others understanding that just because I look strong, capable, fresh and brand new, years from the events that shook my world so young – just because I look ok doesn’t mean I’m not still hurting and healing.

It’s the smells in the air, a song on the radio, some story on a TV or movie show’s, it’s the everyday things I do in my day to day that triggers a memory. That memory sometimes comes with a visceral reaction, a physical pain that surges through my body. I sometimes feel like puking because I feel so “dirty” from the sexual traumas I have survived. I don’t want to think about it. I would love to find that magical pill that gave my brain and heart some rest and just wipe away all that shit. But, there again makes my point – I can’t find some easy fix to take away the symptoms caused by on-going healing of my mind and body. It’s hard work to keep going, and to be able to turn down the conversation in my head telling me I’m not worth it. Everyday I struggle in some way or another – and it’s always got this underlying deep sadness that I work so hard to overcome.

For my brother and sister they chose to do drugs and alcohol and crime to try to mask and or avoid their reality. They choose not to get help – and too use their devastating childhoods as an excuse to give up on themselves. I am positive they can still hear our parents words screaming in their heads… They still sit silent in their memories – allowing them to completely gut them inside out, killing any spirit they had coming into this world. I didn’t have any less of brutal experiences at the hands our parents than they did, but somehow I feel as though I was more stubborn maybe? Like I wouldn’t allow myself to believe this was it, I was not going to be worth anything for the rest of my life. I had to much spirit and courage to ever let that be my anthem.

This is a very long winded way of just letting it be known that because we still have symptoms of trauma and choose to talk about it doesn’t mean that we are dwelling on it. Talking about it heals me, and I believe if my brother could have found their voices -they too would have a chance at truly healing.

As a survivor – I ask that we take the time to listen to each other’s stories. That we give each other the courage to find their voices, even when sometimes it’s uncomfortable or sad. Acknowledgement goes a long way in the healing process. Not feeling shame or embarrassment by what we have endured – but the strength in our truth and our actions. Letting others see our pain and vulnerability helps to take that shame and deep sadness away, little by little. Keeping it in the past is sometimes not that easy. Sometimes we need to just talk about it – let it out and let it go.

My experiences in life don’t dictate who I am going to be, but they do have a lot to do with who I am right now. I am who I am today because of all I have survived. It doesn’t excuse anything but I am hoping it explains my many different areas of struggle.

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