Past

Sometimes people walk into your life and everything just clicks. They’re a puzzle piece you didn’t realize was missing, a perfect fit in the open space in your inner circle. But then, suddenly, something changes and they’re no longer filling every crack of the empty space, rather they’re an awkward lump that no longer can mold into that perfect spot.

I came across this quote recently.

“Everyone has their own path. Walk yours with integrity and wish all others piece on their journey. When paths merge, rejoice for their presence in your life. When paths are separated, return to the wholeness of yourself, give thanks for the footprints left on your soul and embrace the time to journey on your own.”

Nothing I have ever heard or said has seemed truer to me. When I think about the individuals that have walked in and out of my life, I ask myself this: how have they changed me, for better or for worse? Would I be the same person had they not had a chapter in my life? Usually the answer is no, I wouldn’t be the same. It’s rare to have someone in your lifetime that doesn’t affect who you are.

Innately, when humans spend a significant amount of time around another human, they begin to adopt similar styles of speech and mannerisms. It’s why if you want to learn a new language or an accent, the best way to do so is by integrating yourself within another culture entirely. When you remove yourself away from where you’ve immersed yourself, it is only then you truly realize the extent to which this experience has impacted you.

Of course, to come to these conclusions it takes an immense amount of self-awareness. One must be able to see the bigger picture, to be able to take a step back and truly critique themselves. The only way to achieve this is by completely removing oneself from their past situation.

As with all memories, my brain finds itself lingering in nostalgia. It likes to leap back to fonder times, times when certain people were still by my side. But the rational part of me steps in to give a reality check- those people, they’ve drifted away for a reason whatever it may be. Maybe it was them, maybe it was you. Whatever it was, they aren’t here now and most likely, that is for the better.

It stings to think of happy memories of past times when people who used to be in your story treated you with care and kindness, something so unimaginable coming from them today. It’s a raw feeling to think of how you once felt so much for these people but now when their name comes to mind its confusion as to how you feel nothing at all.

And the thing I’ve learned from reaching that point is that, the past is the past for a reason. While a person needs to be proactive to make things happen, I do think that for the people that float in and out, there is always something to be learned. Always something you didn’t know until it’s over, something you wish you knew but you know now.

It’s easy to say negative things about those who have hurt you- but where does that get anyone? Saying negativity not only brings another down, but it doesn’t make you a better person either. Walking with grace and leaving another to peacefully stride on their path alone is the best way to let one go, and if I could have one do-over, that is what I would change about the last person who floated out of my life. It may hurt unbearably, and you wish you could turn back time and change things, but in reality, there is no better way to let the things that need to float away than to do so with eloquence.

I sit here and write this while I continue to journey on alone. I know that wholeness is not found within another person but found within myself. I am the only one necessary to be complete. People will float in and out and every once in a while, there will be one who’s forever. But usually, it takes a long road to get there. So for now, it’s best to focus on the now and the things that matter that I am in control over and to let the past be the past and remain a place I can do nothing but learn from.

xxx

M

Sea of Memories

Forgetting the past. It’s not easy to leave behind what we once lived, what we once loved or hated. People say to forgive and forget- but what they don’t quite express is how.

In my head, I always give people the benefit of the doubt. That is my issue. Because even when someone has treated me worse than garbage, for some fucked up reason I still find myself caring about them. I need to stop doing that. I need to cut the ties and move on with my life. My life isn’t coming to halt because a person is no longer in it, life is moving on with or without me. And, no other person ever should have the ability or power to make me change my life and lose myself because of them.

I keep using too much of my vivid imagination to remember the memories clouding my judgment. Every time I look at the horizon of the future I see the memories of the past and justify my actions using the genuine good moments. My brain has boxed up the negative memories and stored them deep underneath the sea, the positive ones floating on the surface.

The positive ones are easily within reach. But in life, the things easily within reach, is that what we always want? No.

We want to aspire to go further. So, I bend my knees, stick my arms together and a pulse runs through my lengths as they propel me into the air. My lithe body cuts through the surface of memories and suddenly I am surrounded. I’m choking, coughing. My wet head pops up to the surface of the sea, inhales a deep breath, and then I duck back under.

I feel a tug pulling me deeper into the water. Playing with memories is a dangerous game. The most lethal memories have sunk to the bottom, but they’re the most enticing because to re-live through them is to learn why they ended up there. There’s not always a guarantee you’ll make it out though. I need to keep my head inside and stop the flow of memories in and out. I go up for another breath and back under.

As I look below me, I see memories play out one by one, a movie screen on the seafloor. I’m treading water, but the calling of the depths makes me want to stop. It isn’t time for me yet. I came here to find closure, to close the pages of the last chapter of my life. To stop clinging on to memories that do not exist in the present, to banish those to the depths where I can’t re-live them.

The memories of people that became toxic, the memories of moments that should never be spoken of, the memories of conversations that broke boundaries and burned bridges. The memories that led me here, the memories I want to stop clouding my judgment and veiling my decisions. The memories that have disrupted the magnetism of my moral compass, one that used to overpower anything it encountered.

The images extending hundreds of feet below me through the water begin to flicker and change faster. My flippers keep kicking and my face is contorted into an inexplicable expression. Why would facing my past help me forget it? It has been said that in order to move on, you need to face the things that are haunting over your future. For me, that is my memories.

The faster I kick, the faster the memories flicker, the more rapid the water movement. I’ve seen what I need to see. With the flick of my hand, the images go out and the crystal aquamarine water is back to what it once was, except the murky depths seem a little higher and little darker. The flickering moments exist there now, in that draining, daunting area that every child is warned not to go down into.

Now what? The silence is deafening. I don’t quite remember how I got here. I know the second I poke my head above water I will be flooded and overwhelmed with happy memories. Those need to stay at bay, on the horizon. My clean slate needs to remain untainted, baggage-less.

I throw myself on the sand of the shore and lie sprawled star-fish style. The sun warms my salty skin like a warm blanket and the droplets of any traces left of the memories begin to evaporate. I want to forget my past. I want to reinvent who I am. I want to give myself a new start. I want to begin again. I’ve got the lessons of the past in my storybook- I need to learn from them instead of re-living them.

Here I am. Ready to face the future without clinging to the memories of the past. My wings are dry and I’m hoping to soar without looking back beyond my shoulders. I’m going to speed head first into the open air ahead of me. The sand flies from my skin as wings flap strongly behind me, the wind fingering through my hair. And this point onward, I don’t want to look back. I have no regrets. I only want to make a future worth remembering as I soar towards the never-ending horizon on the sea.

M

Loneliness

One. Two.

One. Two.

Left. Right.

Left. Right.

One foot in front of the other. Just keep going. Keep walking. You can do this.

With each step, my knees plead to give out and my tear ducts release the dam that has been holding the flood back. Lately each day has been the same. Miserable. Just another day to get through, spent counting sunrises to midnights. Moments when reality hits you and suddenly your face is soaking wet and you can’t figure out why. Moments when you lie to yourself yet another day, saying that tomorrow will be a better day. Moments when these lies feel so real you believe them.

Then tomorrow comes and you know they were never more than mere lies. Lies that were so tangible you could hear, see and feel them, how they comforted you and guided you when you were lost. Lies that gave you hope when you had nothing left. When you lose the lies that sparked your hope, what is truly left?

I sit on a bench in the sunshine, hoping some of the warmth will infiltrate my heart that has seemingly grown broken and cold. I’m surrounded by people in every direction, yet I’ve never felt lonelier in my life. It is absolutely crazy that someone can be in a place with so many companions yet feel like such an awkward stranger that the people to them barely exist.

I see groups of friends playing with Frisbees and laughing, gossiping over homework, couples strolling by. And then I see myself, an outsider sitting in a blue and white checker-printed dress, white sneakers and sunglasses sitting on a bench alone. From afar, I look the same as everyone else. But what makes things different is that right now in my life, I’ve never felt so alone. Every person I’ve ever trusted, ever loved, ever been best friends with, ever opened up to, they’re all either backstabbed or left me.

What is it that I do wrong? I’ve been told that I’m too kind and caring and “that’s just who I am” and it’s “nothing I ever did or say or were.” So, what is it? Why is it that I constantly find myself in this pathetic state of solitude? Why is it so damn hard to find people who will stick by you rather than leave you on the cold sidewalk to walk alone?

I wish I knew what it was about me that made me this way, this person seemingly having nothing but surface-level friendships because anything deeper just ends up in regret or disaster. My heart longs for what I used to have and craves the comfort of having a best friend. But all my life I’ve walked alone, so I know I am strong enough to continue no matter what life throws at me.

It just really, well sucks, because yes, I know I am a bitch sometimes (but isn’t everyone when they need to be?), overall, I am one of the most loyal people you will ever meet. And when you break my trust and royally screw over that loyalty, you hurt me more than you can ever tangibly imagine.

So that leads me back to now. Walking through the trees on a path where I am surrounded by many, yet I have never felt more alone in my life.

M

It’s a start with the Head and the Heart

The head and heart are two peas in a pod. They are what dictate the way one lives their life, the choices a person makes, and the risks a person takes. Via the carotid artery, the myocardium sends blood to the brain at a rapid rate of three feet per second. When danger is sensed, a cautionary alarm is fired to the hypothalamus in the brain, the hub for the human hormone system.

This causes the sympathetic nervous system to jump start which pulses cortisol throughout the veins and begins the process of surging adrenaline. At this point, the myocardium steps in jolting to a rapid heart rate, speeding up the pulsing of blood throughout the body. Our bronchial tubes open wider and with each breath, our focus intensifies and the strength of the head and heart working together only becomes stronger as we protect ourselves.

But what are we protecting ourselves from? Sometimes this is imminent danger, obvious in its own nature. But other times, it can be similar to when we hear bad news, or something is about to drastically change. In this particular instance, our vagus nerve connecting the heart, brain and stomach is affected, resulting in contraction of the digestive system. Our heartbeats slow and we freeze and feel like we’re choking.

Why does all of this happen? Why do these two reactions juxtapose each other? The head and the heart dictate all of these occurrences. They make us move, make us love, make us learn. Without them, we wouldn’t be who we are.

To live is to make choices, but what determines our choices?

I struggle with whether I am making the right choices based on what my rational mind says compared to my heart’s feelings. Is there a way to reconcile these two incongruent approaches to living?

It’s constantly a battle between the mind and the main blood-pumping organ. Each tries to outlast and outmaneuver the other, fighting from two radically unique battlegrounds. The heart, nestled in a forest of capillaries, veins, and arteries, is shielded by the courageous ribs of the thoracic cavity. The brain, on the other hand, resides coiled up into paths of everlasting thought in a bubble of imagination, encased by a daunting skull. Together, they unite a person into a fully functioning machine with a sprinkle of soul and a dash of empathy.

Sometimes, the heart short circuits the brain, striking first. People act without considering repercussions, speak without a filter, and write about anything, no matter how ludicrous.

When awareness of the heart happens, emotions take over. When the heart is the leading light, all logistics go out the window, despite whatever the brain thinks. But then, after the heart conquers, the brain comes back with a vengeance. It’s a slap across the face when you wake up realizing, what are you doing? No planning ahead, didn’t consider what could happen. Now what’s left is damage control and praying it isn’t too late.

Despite what the outcome may be, good or bad, happy or sad, the brain is still a beautiful thing. It makes a person brilliant in every way, handing over the keys to find out how life works.

Through all the tangles of dendrites, cell bodies, and axons that make up a neuron, information is fired through from one place to another, pit-stopping in the brain for processing. The brain prevents from doing most things that people would regret; it always keeps running, a thousand miles ahead of the last step. Always running in-depth, overcomplicating things.

Knowledge is a gift, knowledge is power, and power is a catalyst for change.

The head and the heart are a jumbled up, rag-tag team who make up who we are to the core.

Together, the head and heart remain in a constant banter, but somehow despite them being so incompatible, figure out a way to work congruently.

Will it ever be possible to have control over both and to get them to work together to help guide in the best direction instead of sacrificing one to please the other? This is a skill one will learn with practice, and I have a lot of learning to do.

xox,

M

Time, Mistakes, & Skipping Rocks

Time is one of the only phenomena that there is no control over. It moves on with or without us. It doesn’t observe boundaries. It keeps going and going and going and nothing can stop it. Until, that is, it runs out.

I never truly realized the way things can change in an instant. One revelation, one action, one little thing can send off a ripple reaction and change everything.

There’s a girl standing by the edge of a pond full of navy-hued water. Lush, leafy clover green trees circle the perimeter of the pond, breaking into an opening by where she stands. In her slender fingers encased is a smooth gray oval rock. Her cascading chestnut hair is tied up in an intricate pony-tail. Her cornflower blue sundress brushes the tops of her knees and her bare toes tickle the edges of the pond water. She keeps turning the rock over and over in her hands, as if she’s unsure of what to do with it and the rock was the life choices she has to make.

In one motion, she bends her knees leaps forward and extends her arm, the orb of earth flying from her fingers. It dances across the water, skipping from one ripple to the next.

One.
Two.

Three.

Four.

Five.

Plop.

It swims down through the opaque water, deeper and deeper into a world it’s never been. A world in which it doesn’t think it belongs but it will try to survive in anyways. A world with a clear divide from where it once was.

The girl sits down in a patch of grass edging around the pond and peers into the water, her reflection’s eyes matching up with her own.

When did things get to this? How did things get to this?

Mistakes. Regrets. Looking back and wishing you could do something about a story written in the stone of the past. Decisions you made leading to things that not only hurt you, but those around you.

There are moments where I think back to and I cringe. I wonder if I had done something else if that would have changed anything. If I would still have the people in my life now that I hurt.

The most painful feeling is knowing you hurt people who didn’t deserve to be hurt. It eats away at you from the inside. There is absolutely nothing you can do. You took the tools you had in your life and you abused them. And now, you are left sitting on the edge of a pond wondering why you did what you did and if anything can ever repair the power mistakes have to wreck.

You think back to the most dangerous weapon your mind has to offer: memories. The beautiful pictures you painted, the laughs you shared, the moments that went unseen. And you shudder as a shiver runs through you as you acknowledge it was your mistake that ripped that all to shreds. And because of that, because of the power of mistakes, everything changed. And for once, there might just be nothing you can do about it.

Mistakes and regrets are terrifying because the ramifications are immensely powerful but the ways to repair are sensitive and obscure. It takes an incredibly forgiving and patient person to accept an apology and move on.

Apologies aren’t easy by any means, but that doesn’t mean a person shouldn’t try. They don’t justify the action that was taken that resulted in the hurt, nor should they be seen as an excuse. They are the only and best way to try to mend what has been broken. Only sincere apologies demonstrate ability to recognize those negative actions and hopefully can help to reinstall the trust that may have been broken in a relationship.

Mistakes and regrets shatter glass in an instant that takes forever to perfectly piece back together. If you have a clean piece of paper, take it and crumple it up. As tightly as you can. Fold every corner, crease every crease, squeeze it tighter than tight. Now undo what you just did. Get the paper back to its unfolded clean slate. It’s still crinkled? You’re right. It’s extremely hard to undo what you’ve done, frustrating and nearly impossible.

The girl looks at her arms, stained wet with charcoal colored streaks from her mascara. The crystal droplets from the corners of her once big, bright honest eyes are murky, clouded with the traces of makeup. She wishes with everything she could go back and change things. But she can’t go back and re-do time.

Because much like time, you can’t take back mistakes. You live and you learn and you keep moving forward. And you can only hope that those who you’ve hurt, they can find it in their heart to understand, let you back in, forgive and trust you once again.

sincerely,

M