I don’t like to reminisce. It is a very rare occasion for me to open up photo albums, scroll back through Facebook posts, or even to chat with childhood friends about the past. I don’t like to look back. If someone opens up the conversation about the past, you might hear me say things like “well, you can’t go back” and “life is what is ahead of you”. It is all in the hopes of shutting the conversation down. Those responses are deflections because of how uncomfortable reminiscing makes me.
It isn’t the reminiscing that makes me uncomfortable. I do look back. A lot. Probably too much. But I do it alone. I retell the story alone. Remember the version I want to remember alone. Reminiscing with others means their version might get intermingled with mine. It means I might have to explain why I don’t remember things that way or hear their side of the truth. And I might have to grapple with forgiveness, forgiving, and forgetting all over again.
I’ve replayed the past and packed it into boxes, re-framed the memories, and remodeled the hurtful parts into something else. It is the only way to make sense of life. My journey is what has made me and it is the story of what got me to here. If I go and reopen the past something might get shifted. If I take in someone else’s version of the story, it might just set off a domino effect. Tears might get a box wet and cause it to collapse. Winds of anger might blow against the tender piles. Uncertainties might shake the foundations and reshape my inner life. I can’t risk that. The boxes are neatly piled, labelled, and stable. And the ones on the bottom are there for a reason.
Is it really so wrong to want to keep that intact? Is it hurting anyone to have made sense of my past my way? You can be sure I don’t go throwing my version of the past in people’s faces because God forbid we might have to discuss it then. I can’t risk that! So is it wrong if it is not how they remember it? I’m not asking them to ascribe to my version. Can’t I preserve my story as is?
I am sure my parent’s have a version of my teen years that doesn’t match mine. I am sure my friends have a version of our childhood friendships that doesn’t exactly match mine. And I am sure my husband has a version of our relationship that isn’t just like mine. We all have our stories. The roles we’ve played, the villains and heroes, and the winners and the losers.
I’ve arrived here because I have spent the time working through my past. I did it alone. I spent the minutes, the hours, and the days sorting, healing, and building the foundation from which I keep going.
I’ve created the story for my inner heroine. She might have some war wounds but she is also prepared for the battle ahead. She has been trained through her trials. She has overcome the obstacles so far. And she has her eyes set on the future prize. She is a warrior for what is to come. Her story is her stallion. She won't be reminiscing. She will be riding off into tomorrow without looking back.