A friend texted me tonight:"Remember that time we ran into you in the parking garage at Western and you ended up sitting with us at the game?"
My first reaction: I was weird then.
I was awkward and self-conscious. I felt inferior to everyone, shy and a little (okay, maybe a lot) introverted.
This was a memory I had completely forgotten about.
I've been thinking a lot about this recently - memories. They've been invading my mental private space and temporarily taking my breath away in a grimacing sort of way. For me, memories bring back a feeling, the feeling I was feeling at the time, and in some instances, it's a painful blip on the mental radar.
Despite my propensity to short-term memory loss, I have chosen to not forget. I made this decision subconsciously one day while I was driving home from a college course in the spring of 2003 or 2004. I remember my hands on the wheel, and I remember a memory. I don't recall which one, but it hurt.
I welcomed it. Everything. The memory, the loss, and the pain. Its heaviness lasted for just a moment and then it was gone.
And I lived, stronger than before.
It's an internal choice I made at that moment, at moments before and certainly moments after - I'm not defined by badness. I'm characterized by how I respond, how I react, what I learn and by how I navigate these murky waters.
The bad memories don't offer a re-do, but they do grant an opportunity to analyze, assess, taste it, ask questions (how did that affect me? what did that do to my heart? what, if anything, could I have done differently?), and then move on.
Moving on...forward motion...the mistakes of today, sure, they're there. But how can tomorrow be better?
So, back to the shy and awkward girl...
...I don't know if I was actually shy or awkward. My damaged soul was in a lot of ways. I was fighting against myself in many instances, learning how to be normal, trying to figure out what normal was and estimating that I never would be completely normal by normal standards. I don't think I was okay with that at the time.
My perception of myself has changed since running into people I barely knew in a parking garage.
Today, I love myself. That's probably the biggest difference, and what a difference a difference makes!
My core feels robust, my soul alive, and when all sorts of memories come piling in, I can wince a little and acknowledge that yeah, I was weird back then.
But I kinda still am.