Revisiting the past can yield some unintended rewards.
It can feel like curiosity but the desire for closure can be a trap. It can shake things up, if only in your head (and and in your tummy, where the butterflies have jagged wings). The nervousness and the secrecy can be exhilarating, but only in the tiniest of doses.
You may feel afraid you have started something that you aren’t equipped to finish. You may feel afraid that this is self-sabotage rather than curiosity from a place of strength. You may feel overwhelmed by how fractured you feel, one foot sinking in the past, one floating through the present. You may feel guilty and so very, very flawed.
The truth shows up very quickly.
And you can see how ready and unafraid you are to see it.
You can see how much you have changed. You can see how little other people and other circumstances haven’t.
You can see that you are really all about you. And they are really all about them. But your you-ness involves much greater compassion towards, and curiosity about, other people.
You can see that there is nothing that another person can do or say or give that will change anything. You are not seeking to alter the past and you are not hoping for a certain future. But you also see how safe you are: you are whole and you are solid. Whatever is said to you, however that makes you feel, nothing will change. Those words may stay inside your head for perpetuity, but the world outside your head is the same as it was before you heard them.
Yes, you are safe.
And that is because you have done the work. You have let go of the hurt, the disappointment, the anger. They had a role to play but they do not serve you now.
Now, all you really feel is compassion for that younger you, the one who was so dazzled by a moment of being seen that she was prepared to overlook a whole raft of frightening things.
You can see how far you have come. You no longer crave the excitement and danger of that time. You see how much you would lose, how much of yourself you would have to edit or erase to try and be that self of so long ago.
You can see how much there is to be gained from being open and transparent now. You can see how liberating it is to say things as you see them, as gently and calmly as you can muster. You can see that there were many choices, when there mightn’t have felt like it at the time. You can see how you may have been prone to overlook the risks in what was happening for you, overwhelmed by the magnitude of risks that others claimed to be taking. You can see that, in fact, the risks were negligible because, in fact, no-one was really prepared to say and claim exactly what was happening. But you can see how this wasn't the way it felt at the time.
Again, this fills you with compassion for the lost young woman you once were, and the yearning to be seen again in that way that has never quite gone away.
And that compassion enables you to see that you have choices now, and that one of them is to claim that yearning. You are no longer lost. You know who you are, where you are, whom you love, what you love. And you see that there is much to be gained from sinking into that thing that often makes you feel vulnerable and sometimes afraid, and can cause you to doubt your judgement.
Because maybe the yearning is what makes you you. Maybe the yearning doesn’t signify your incompleteness. Maybe, by embracing the yearning, you will be complete.
Whatever happens, by indulging this curiosity about the past, you have confirmed something about your present.
You are in it. You are here. Fully.
It doesn’t matter what others have chosen, will chose.
Because you have chosen you.
Just as you are.