“Blessed are the forgetful: for they get the better even of their blunders.”
Believe me, if I could forget it all I would. But here’s the thing, life isn’t a Jim Carrey movie. There is no cracking ice, no Kate Winslet with blue hair, and there certainly is no machine with the ability to selectively erase any memory you choose. That’s not real life.
In real life we have memories, and they stick. Sometimes they fade, sometimes they get drowned out by newer ones, but they don’t vanish.
This is something I came to the painful realization of this past week.
Something got triggered. I was speaking about bullying, I was watching verbal abuse on the big screen, I was hot tubbing – and something snapped. Suddenly all the memories, all the words, all the lies, the fear, the shame, it all came rushing back.
My past came back to life. And now I am living in it.
And the scenes are haunting me and the words are defeaning me – and I no longer have anywhere to run.
Blessed are the forgetful…but we don’t always have that choice.
Ultimately, I don’t think we ever have that choice. Memories come back, sometimes out of nowhere – maybe it’s a place, a taste, a smell, a Damien Rice song, or a familiar street – and suddenly you’re surrounded.
I get flashbacks sometimes, memories resurface from my past of mean highschool boyfriends, girls who meant nothing but harm, nights of self-injury… but for the most part, these memories surface and then disappear again. They don’t really have much impact. Why? Because I dealt with them. Somewhere along the way I turned around and faced the pain, I pulled it out from under the rug and brought it into the light and felt it. And then I grieved, I mourned, and I let it go. This is what we call healing.
I’ve learned something this week – I’ve learned of the things I’d swept under the rug and left there. And it makes sense that I would; the pain was too big, too real. I lived in hell for three years – when I finally escaped, I didn’t want to look back. I wouldn’t look back.
But this means I also didn’t fully heal.
I thought I was The Forgetful, but I wasn’t. I was the hurt, the frightened, the avoiding – but not the forgetful.
Here’s what I’ve learned: if you run from your pain, soon enough it will catch up to you.
I love to run, but it’s gotten me nowhere. And so now it’s time to do the thing that scares me the most: it’s time to stop running. It’s time to turn around and face it. Because if we lived in a world where a machine could wipe the memories clean, I would do it, oh how I wish I could do that…but we don’t.
And so I only have two options: to face, to hurt, to feel, or to shove it back under the rug and leave it there until it inevitably comes out again.
This time I am going to make the right choice, no matter how hard it is, because that is where freedom begins.
Blessed are the feelers, for they will truly heal, even from their blunders.
read my follow up post here: Blessed are the Forgetful: A follow up