Jamie Ridler is sharing another prompt with us today. She asks us “What or whom do you wish to make peace with.” I had to think on this for a little bit because I realized that there is a lot of stuff hanging around in my head and heart that I need to make peace with. There are so many mistakes I’ve made as a human being. So many things that I wish I could undo.
There’s a voice inside that whispers:
Stop being at war with your past.
Make peace with yourself. The me from seven years ago. I still carry her with me sometimes and I realize that it is time to make peace with her and let her go.
When I was 19 I had my very first relationship, he also happened to be married. That whole situation, all two years’ worth, defined me for a very long time. It defined how other people thought of me. It defined how I thought of myself, felt about myself, talked to myself.
I carried (carry) around a lot of guilt and anger, but more than that, I used it as an excuse. I used it as proof that no one was ever going to really love me. That I was not worth anything. It ‘proved’ once and for all that I was worthless, stupid, naive, gullible, broken, fat, ugly, and weak. So many times I laid on the floor sobbing just wanting to disappear.
I was in pain.
I get that now. That was the source of all of those feelings. I just wanted to be loved so I let myself believe words and promises that anyone else would have rolled their eyes at because there was an emptiness in my heart that someone was offering to fill for the first time in my entire life. This person was going to be a magic wand that would erase every time I felt abandoned as a kid. That’s what happens when you don’t love yourself.
You seek love like someone who is starving. Anyone, anything, just to make you feel the tiniest bit better about who you are.
We make terrible decisions when we’re in pain, even when we can’t yet point a finger at it and identify the source. Being able to see that, acknowledge why it happened. That’s part of healing. Finding understanding and compassion is part of healing.
Doing bad things doesn’t make you a bad person. It doesn’t mean you have to wear that scarlet ‘A’ on your chest for the entirety of your life.
You’re allowed, I’m allowed, to put it firmly in the past and move on.
I still carry all of that with me. I still feel a lot of shame and I look back at that time and I feel so angry with myself that my experience of “first love” is so filled with pain. It’s been five years and I still carry shadows of it with me. I still spend time wishing I could go back and change things.
It happened. It’s over. It’s time to let go. The past doesn’t define me.
I’m learning to love myself so that I don’t blindly accept the love others try to give me. I am a work in progress.