Isn’t it funny how much people change? And in a matter of time, you can resolve to be this horrible, rotten person, but just be so damn beautiful and valuable and not even realize it? We all have been there. Come on. I know I’m not the only one. You know where you’ve done some things in your past, hell, maybe even yesterday, that you weren’t so proud of. That you’re ashamed of even. Things that you question why you made that decision or took that path, only to figure out that you have no real clue, so maybe you were hopeless all along. Or maybe you want to blame it on someone, make someone else carry the weight of that burden, but to no avail, you don’t feel better about yourself. In fact, you just feel worse. It doesn’t matter how you try to justify it, you still feel like crap about it. Is that guilt? Or is that just a path of self destruction that you had no idea you were on, you know because no one was waving any red flags at you along the way. And just like that, you’ve realized how you just kept making one bad decision after another, until you’ve woven together this long thread of insanity. And now you absolutely can’t stand who you have become. You try to move on, but why are those red flags waving at you now? Where were they before? What the hell? Why are you even here?
Which brings me to this:
I had an interesting conversation today with a good friend of mine. I’ve known her since High school, and as expected, time moves whether you want it to or not. We have our families now, marriage, kids, and we live in different states, so we don’t get to see each other (in fact, the last time I saw her was about four years ago, give or take?) Anyway, we seldom, if at all, have a chance to talk to one another on the phone. Luckily, for technology we are able to stay connected to each other through pictures, a quick hello via instant message, or a comment here and there on a Facebook post. We do, however, talk on the phone, but as I said, life’s quick pace and our own interests more than often leave limited time to actually sit and chat for any length of time.
Today, however, I was fortunate to have some time, in fact, we both were. We were able to catch up and get a chance to see how time has changed our life; simply because with each passing day, every years that flies by, we’ve grown up a little bit more whether we wanted to or not. And our mindset now, our conversations, are based on experiences and the limited chances we get to reflect on who we are and what made us that way. Well, the word guilt came up. At first, the we, okay I, tossed the word back and forth, because regardless of knowing each other for about twenty years, we have had different experiences, and I guess that includes, having a different perspective of what exactly ‘guilt’ is; whether or not guilt drives us to do certain things; how, if at all, does it challenge us.
Do we feel guilty and then act out in an aggressive manner?
Or do we just ‘hate’ the things that we have done and therefore, hate who we’ve become, which in turn, causes us to react on impulse?
Is guilt and hate for our past the same?
If we don’t like who we’ve become, then we think we don’t deserve anything better? Or is it that we know that we deserve better, but don’t deserve going after it? Is that guilt?
However, she was making sense, and I was making sense, we held different opinions, and remember, I said limited time. We could have gone on all night. She claiming that it was because we do things in our past, which causes us to feel ‘shitty’ about ourselves. It sunk in after the fourth or fifth time she said it, and so I retracted my opinion on the term, ‘guilt’, and decided that her perspective carried a bit of weight to it, and maybe there was something else at work, driving us to wrongfully imprison our souls and make us act out. But now, I sit here and think about it further. What if it is guilt that drives us to do certain things? Can’t guilt drive us to do better; be better? It doesn’t always have to lead to negative consequences, right? Claiming that you don’t like yourself, or that you feel shitty about yourself, can be coined as guilt; can’t it? Or maybe she had a point. Maybe guilt and “hating yourself because of things you may have done” are, in fact, completely different. Or maybe, guilt is the right term, but feelings and pain are so loaded to most; they don’t want to attach an abstract meaning to it.
Defining someone’s behaviors or feelings for them, can be received pretty poorly. Hell, I can even admit to that. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve said or heard, “I/You don’t understand how I feel”. But truthfully, it is pretty simple. Stop living in the past. And as I write that, quotes of how everyone has a past, pop up in my mind. If you feel stuck in a place that you don’t really want to be, ask yourself? Why are you there? What is one thing that I can do, or have done that made me different from that person who I was yesterday? Five minutes ago? Maybe you look at your child and validate your reason for being here. Or you just talked to an old friend, like I did and had a meaningful, thoughtful conversation. Or maybe just happen to catch a quick glimpse of yourself in the mirror and realize that you are somebody’s everything. You are someone to somebody; someone who doesn’t know your past; doesn’t even care. Or how about just stop and listen to your heart beat, and let that be enough to validate your reason for being here. Why should you let your past hold you back and eat you up inside to make you feel like shit about yourself? I’m not preaching about perfection. I am far from that neck of the woods, I’ve done some things I’m not so proud of myself, and I too, think about that on a daily basis. I wake up with that shit every single day and feel that twinge of hatred for myself, or I hear someone else’s success story, and get an extra dose of insecurity, feeling of worthlessness, self-hatred, and/or depression. You name it. I’m right there with you. I fight those battles in my damn head every single day, but I keep going; I keep fighting. Challenging myself to reclaim my sanity; to be stronger, clearer, better. I go to the gym, bust my ass, and breathe so heavily that my skin starts to cry and I fog up that ole’ rear view mirror.
However way you want to describe it; whether or not you agree with the use of the word, “guilt” (Hell, I’ve even had people get offended when I’ve used the word, “regret”), but those are all abstract words, they don’t really define your soul; your existence; and they shouldn’t determine which direction you should take, or the choices that you make for a better tomorrow, or a better five minutes. We are made up of many facets, not just our past. If you look back, you’ll see, more often than not, the choices that you’ve made simultaneously have caused a response from you. Stop giving away a part of who you could be right now for the person who nestles down deep inside of you. For that person who once was.
If you could do all the crazy shit and make it through all of that while still breathing, then you have a reason to be here; stop taking that away from yourself. I tell myself that every single night before I close my eyes.