I often fail to give myself credit for all I’ve found a way to make it through and lived to tell about. To remember how strong I truly am and have been throughout some of the worst experiences life has to offer. Sometimes they feel like they happened to someone else. All of it, the good, the bad and indifferent. It couldn’t have been me. I feel detached from so many of my own memories. It’s like it all happened in another lifetime. Someone else’s, certainly not mine.
Memories fade as time passes, especially ones that were blurred by alcohol and anger to begin with. It’s easy to forget how much you’ve been through. Often, there’s plenty we’d like to forget. However when we do that, we discredit our own strength and growth. We rob ourselves of recalling all the tough moments we’ve survived and how much we’ve matured and prospered as people. We can’t delete our history but we can learn from it as well as draw strength from it.
Remembering where you came from not only helps keep you grounded and humble but it also allows you to see how far you’ve come. I don’t mean materialistically necessarily, unless those are the things that matter to you. Sure comparing the overcrowded one bedroom apartment you grew up in to the three bedroom brownstone you now own is an easy telltale of the success you’ve found in life but the kind of growth I’m proud of today is when I think of something I said ten years ago and am absolutely appalled by it. When I think back to how I reacted to something someone said or the fact I even reacted at all and can’t help but laugh at myself. Those are the kinds of improvements that matter to me. Knowing I’ve become a better person over time.
I’ve had money and it did a lot of things for me but it never made me a better person. I was too young. Even if I would have thought to do some good with it, I probably wouldn’t have. I was too self centered and self obsessed. I write about the past a lot mainly because I’m intrigued by it. Which is a daily reprieve from the years I spent haunted by it, my own specifically. I learned to embrace it and learn from it rather than try to escape it.
Honestly, remembering a lot of the terrible shit I’ve done helps me with empathy. When I’m wronged by someone today, I can often recall doing the same exact thing to another at some point in time and am able to write it off to universal justice. It all comes back around. The person who did it to me isn’t a worse person than I am, they just haven’t learned yet.
I couldn’t forget where I came from if I tried, it’s too deeply rooted in me. I’ve been all over the country and it comes everywhere with me. It’s evident in the way I talk, I wear it on my sleeve. It’s made me who I am and for that I’m grateful. It’s made me wise enough to at least know how dumb I was. Every struggle I’ve ever made it to the other side of helped me in some way. There is always a home in my heart for where I came from.