My son is in the third grade. Last week he had his field day and now he is gearing up for summer vacation. Can you say flashbacks? As I was helping him getting ready for school this morning I couldn’t help but think back to my own third grade field day and end of year celebrations. My flashbacks were further compounded by the fact that my twenty year high school reunion is just a few weeks away.
No, I’m not attending. Ten years ago or even five years ago my reasons for not attending were so different than those of today. When I graduated I could not wait to move on. From the time I went into my sophomore year of high school, my body, soul, mind and heart were already moved on to college. Probably more accurately, my head was in college from the time I entered high school. I just wanted out. I needed that out. I craved, yearned for and dreamt about that out for so long. There was so much going on in my world and the world around me that I needed to escape from, that all I could ever do was fantasize about the “out”!
This is a hard one to write. In my head it’s all so clear but to put it on paper is a bit more complicated. My family was going through some tumultuous times to put it mildly. The stresses of those times provided a weight on me that no child should have to endure. My closest friends knew some but not too much. They knew enough to know when to back off and to not inquire too much. I was always very careful to only divulge the bare necessities of the situation and of what was really going on behind closed doors. In hindsight, two of my girlfriends had a pretty good clue yet they were careful not to invade that personal space or the barriers that I had in place. As soon as high school ended, I was out of there…literally! I moved out and on (and on and on and on…) without ever looking back. I made a break from all that was old as if severing the ties of the past would resolve all of the inner conflict. It wasn’t about anyone or anything else but me. It was self preservation.
Now, in the day and age of social media like Facebook, I have reunited with some blasts from the past. Some were (and still are) the dearest of friends, others were transitional friends and still some yet were mere acquaintances. In some ways, it really has been fun to reconnect and see pictures of their kids and show off my own pride and joy. Yet in other ways it has been truly terrifying. With each new friend request my heart races and I go back twenty plus years. In the beginning I would nearly break out in a sweat and have these conversations in my head weighing the pros and cons about accepting or declining the requests. I would evaluate their friends lists to see what I was opening myself up to and wether I could mentally and emotionally deal with it. However, after a bit of time and a whole lot of pep talks to myself, with each request the terror within consumes me a little less and I feel empowered as I control the who and the what that enters my life now. I finally have come to terms with the “little girl lost” that once resided inside of me. I shed her, along with the past, long ago. I’m just now understanding this revelation.
My “special friend” or “adviser” or “life counselor” or whatever other politically correct term we want to call her for the sake of argument has been coaching me on healing myself of issues of the past. Through focus on love and light and healing energies surrounding my body, my life source has been preserved. I have learned that I need not make any apologies for my disappearing act. Preservation is preservation and sometimes you have to do whatever it takes just to survive. I did that and I more than survived. I have thrived and lived and loved. Today when I look around I don’t see, hear, feel or smell fear or shame or sadness. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Today I look around and see a beautiful child who is the light of my life, an unbelievable husband who lets his light shine through us each day, two really crazy dogs who make me do sanity checks by the minute and a friend and family base that everyone should be so blessed to have near. I look within and see a very strong, able and wise woman who is a not only a survivor but a lover of life and all that it offers. While I know that I’m still a work in progress, I am excited to keep working and making progress. Every baby step is progress and before I know it, the marathon will be finished.
I turned on the radio and a song by Joshua Radin was playing. He belted out:
Most kind of stories
Save the best part for last.
And most stories have a hero who finds
You make your past your past.
Yeah, you make your past your past.
It’s a brand new day.
The sun is shining.
It’s a brand new day.
For the first time in such a long, long time
I know I’ll be okay
Yeah, the past is the past and today is a new day and tomorrow will be another new day and so will the next day. So, while the timing for the reunion doesn’t fit with my commitments on the home front, I’ll eagerly await the pictures and stories on facebook and via email and phone from my friends. I’ll also happily gear my son up for his today and give him the tools he needs for his brand new tomorrow!
With Love and Gratitude,