Past Imperfect

My past is not pretty. My dad was an alcoholic and my mom had major anger problems and there was both abuse and neglect. I was also molested when I was about 3 by a neighbor. These were things that twisted me in unfortunate ways. I'm not blaming anyone; I'm just outlining the genesis of most of my problems. I had an anger problem myself. I didn't trust authority. I acted out to get attention. I developed a problem with lying compulsively. I was a terrible, terrible student until I got to college. I didn't know how to ask for help. I used to shop lift. I suffer from social anxiety and have always had a hard time making friends. Later on I was promiscuous and drank way too much. I was terrible with money and ran up debts and was constantly bouncing checks. Once I entered the job market I was flaky and hard to manage and I kept changing jobs every six months. I was prone to drama.

 

Unfortunately I compare myself far too often to people that didn't have the sort of hand grenades tossed into their lives that I did and I shudder when I think of what I huge, ugly mess my past is in comparison. It's hard to let the mistakes of the past stay in the past, but I'm committed to doing just that and sometime I manage to achieve it for periods of time.

I'm not the person I was back then. In fact, I barely resemble that person at all. I'm extremely responsible as an adult. I avoid debt like the plague and have a savings account and a 401k. I'm not a flake anymore. I don't lie very often. I managed to finish college and a graduate program. I've been happily married to the same man for 13 years. I don't change jobs nearly as quickly. I'm drama free and only very rarely get upset about anything. About the only thing that remains is being a little bit socially anxious and having a tough time making friends. Yet sometime I still judge myself by the old me and that part of myself feels more real to me then the me I am today and I let it influence how I see myself. It's like I take an average of the type of person I was and the person I am now and let the person I was drag my average score down. Does that make any sense? It's very hard to let go of the past, despite how little relevance it has to my life today. I managed to learn from nearly all my big mistakes. Sure, I had to learn everything the hard way and a couple of things I unfortunately had to learn more than once, but I did it. I learned. I grew. I'm much closer to the person I always wanted to be, but some times I let the past hold me back and I assume I'll fail, or act a certain way based on very old information. I wish my memory was more like a computer and I could just offload the old data so that there's only the new information in my head. I blame myself for all the mistakes I made, though I wouldn't judge someone else the same way if they told me a similar story about their past. I'd just feel empathetic and think that the things that person did were the result of some really bad things happening, but I can't seem to cut myself the same break.

I want the mistakes of my past to stay in the past. I'm not making the same mistakes anymore. They have no place in my present of future.

Slackajawea Slackajawea
36-40, F
4 Responses Mar 5, 2010

I totally understand you. Don't feel overwhelmed. It is not how you started but how you got to the ending line.

Thank you for your kind words, Hannah and Renewal. It's so healing to know that I'm not the only one who struggles with the past. We've all made mistakes and the only way past them is forward. Best wishes to both of you.

I think your story is a very encouraging one, you have learned from your past. And have learnt responsibility for yourself and your actions. I think that you will go a very long way. And I am encouraged that as much of a mess i think I am. If you can do it. So can I. I'm sorry for your tough childhood. But you have shown that we can overcome bad experiences as children as as adults. I am sure you will have many more significant milestones to come in the experiences of good living. I wish you well.

Hi<br />
I joined the circle a few minutes ago and while viewing the profile of someone who shared my interests; I came across your story. You are a victor and I am proud of you as a matter of fact very very much so. My past is also filled with abandonment, experimentation and other experiences which was needed to make me into the person that I am today. There are only experiences in life and via them we grow, heal and are able to perpetuate the human race. ALL PERSONS HAVE THINGS IN THEIR CLOSET!!! It is just that many lack integrity and so will not take responsibility and develop positive character traits. You have done well.<br />
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Please live in the NOW. Look at your past as the road that took you to where you are today. Have no regrets, if you hadn't overcome the obstacles, the glory within would not be shining so brilliantly.<br />
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I am 53 and haven't been responsible enough to complete my studies. Now that I am past feeling sorry for myself but the courage to commence seriously studying (am a distance education student) for a degree that will allow me to fully participate in my field of expertise, still eludes. <br />
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i am encouraged by your discipline, determination and dedication to self-empowerment. Thank you for letting your light shine so I can do likewise.<br />
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Best regards