Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Past is the Past is the Past

"There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you."--Maya Angelou

Untold stories.  How many of us walk around day after day carrying luggage from the past? Each of us can probably think of many things that we regret...things we wish we could take back...things we wish we could go back and do over again. It is these stories that have made us the person that we are today.  

I was what you would call a rebellious child...or should I say, a rebellious adolescent...but I am getting ahead of myself here...I should begin at the beginning. My mom and dad both worked so it was from the age of about 11 on, that I practically raised myself.  I'd come home from school, flip on American Bandstand, and keep myself occupied until my parents got home from work.  Then, I would help mom fix dinner (by the age of 13 I was cooking dinner by myself), we'd sit as a family to eat, and then 'family' flew out the window.  My dad, an alcoholic, would retire to his little room with his six-pack of beer, and that was the last I would see of him at night.  Mom would preen herself and then off she would go to her babysitting job...night after night after night.  At least, that is what she wanted me to believe...but that's another story.

So, here I was, just entering my teen-age years...and finding myself with no guidance. And, personally, because I never knew anything different, I saw that as normal.  I was a 'good' kid.  After dinner, I'd go out an play with my friends until dusk and then come in to do homework, etc. It wasn't until I entered high school that things really changed for me.  My parents then became what I considered 'super strict'.  I was punished for every little thing...and punishment meant I was grounded.  For something little as having my coat unbuttoned on the way home from school...which by the way was one of our teen-age fads...I would be grounded for a month...and it was like that for every little thing....so bad that I NEVER got out, NEVER attended the school dances, even my proms, NEVER had a boyfriend.  It was awful not being a part of.

By 15 or 16, I began to rebel by skipping school and hanging out.  If I couldn't go out at night, then I might as well go out in the daytime.  Problem was, the "good" kids were in school.  I missed so much time, I was kicked out and my parents put me in another school...where I did the same thing...and, when I hit 18, I walked into school and cleaned at my locker telling the principal, "You can't do anything to me.  I am 18 now."  And I walked out of school and never looked back...not then...not until years down the road when I began to regret not completing high school.  I did eventually get my GED and complete a bachelors in Criminal Justice...online, not in a classroom setting. I also came to realize that my parents' did what they felt was best for me.  Knowing that neither could 'watch' over me, punishment and grounding was their way of making sure I was all right. In doing so, they took what should have been a memorable period of my life and destroyed it. But that's all over now...and the logical part of me understands and forgives...although my heart may forever remember.

Sometimes I wonder how different my life may have been if I had completed school back then and sought to further my education.  Would I have been a lawyer?  A psychiatrist?  If I had had a boyfriend?  Attended my proms?  Would I have avoided the heartache of so many bad relationships...the abuse...But, the fact is, I DIDN'T do any of that...and the past is the past.  There is no going back.  And I did learn so much from my experiences that is such an integral part of who I am today.  No, I cannot go back and undo the threads of the past, and I don't think I would really want to.  For today, I value education and schooling so highly that at 63, I continue to seek out courses and trainings.  It's a never-ending and thoroughly enjoyable process for me.

So, it does us no good to ruminate over what 'might have been' for we are the sum total of our experiences--good or bad.  Things that NEED to happen have a way of happening...and understanding the flow of life allows us to let go, accept that over which we have no control.  Living a life of guilt or blame takes us out of harmony and balance.  I am not saying that we should forget, only that we must do whatever needs to be done to let go of harmful energies such as anger and guilt.  Understanding the flow of life allows us to let go, accept whatever limitations we may have no power over, and move forward. 

11 comments:

  1. I think if you were to interview some of the strongest people you knew, you would find some sort of problem "difficulty" in their childhood. I have a few friends that grew up with silverspoons in their mouths so to speak and they really dont have any drive or desire to be or become anything. They would rather drink, do drugs, play video games, etc.

    You and I seem to have the same brainwaves lately. I am actually working on a blessing for easing memories, thoughts etc. Not to forget, but to help let go.

    Without struggle there is no progress!

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  2. Great post. I try to live with no regrets and no baggage. Though it's difficult sometimes. Then I realize that all the choices I've made have led me to this moment. My husband. My daughter. As painful as it may have been at the time, it's paying off in spades now!

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  3. Thank you sometimes its good to have a reminder that past is just that PAST. Sometimes its hard to let go, i have held on to past hurts because its all i've know, but am now learning to let go... well as best i can
    x

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  4. I agree completely, Mary. There's no point in torturing yourself with "what if's" -- all that does is make you crazy. What is, is. Can't go back, so enjoy today and make better choices for the future!

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  5. There are probably very few people who honestly don't have some "shit back then" to deal with. And the sooner dealt with, the better.

    But then, we all dooooooooooooo, at our own pace, I guess. And that's probably for the best, in the end.

    It's just very good-to-self, to let go of the "old shit." However we do it. Whenever we do it.

    Hugs...

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  6. Oh Mary, you said you couldn't comment on the "Gals With..." blog. I "hid" it this morning.

    Guess interest in it kind of died off. Very little activity there. A bit ago, I said my "biopsy negative" post. And thanked people who commented. And just this morning, I did the "Blogger Hide A Blog" thing.

    Did that before, with my photo blog too, because I wasn't posting there. So it seemed .... logical.

    I kind of think the "Gals With Grandmother Faces" blog *bloom* wore off kind of quickly. At first, lots of people thought/said, that it was grrrrrrrreat to have a place where they could openly bitch about age issues. And they enjoy it.

    And then, it kind of fades.

    And I lost posting ideas. Ones I really wanted to put out there, anyway. We never lose all our "bitch about something" ideas, I don't think. -grin-

    Hope that answers your question.

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  7. Mary, reading the part about being grounded for sneezing..so to speak, and for weeks at a time and not being able to do teenage stuff...was like reading my own history, only it was Cinderella's step mom's sister who did it to me. Parents were so messed up they split up..anyway, I can relate. You and I could sit and talk about quite a lot and nod our heads..
    Glad we both survived and made it past 50 (o:
    Keep smiling my friend..

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  8. I have given you an award, you beautiful blogger, you! Check it out at http://moonwolfhowling.blogspot.com

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  9. absolutely brilliant post Mary!
    [your story could be my story with a few little changes... alcoholic father & mother who went 'babysitting' except my mother went to 'college'..] ~
    parenting is the biggest responsibility we can have and yet, not one of us have training for it.. each and every one of us carries baggage in some form.. but it makes us who we are and I agree, it is best to let it go and move forward xoxo

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  10. ah the past... just have to love it at times... yet I will say that although there were many things I was not particularly fond of in my life... I am grateful as I know they had a huge part in making me how I am today

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  11. I remember the fad of wearing your winter coat unbuttoned. Crazy. Got cold too, but did that matter? Not to a teenager, it didn't.

    Growing up is hard. And you had a double dose of it. I think letting go is the hardest thing we have to do here on earth. Letting go of the past, of lovers, of friends, of jobs or whatever we've put our hearts and souls into.

    You write well and I sense a big healing around the corner for you.
    Thanks for sharing your inner world.
    Hugs

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