We think about it a lot, some people more than other people: the past and the future. Little things like looking back on your weekend and considering what to eat tonight. And big things, like plans for the future with your boyfriend.
It differs per person how they handle these thoughts. I used to run away from my past, but that also meant I rushed through life. Everything had to happen like yesterday, life went too slow for me. I wanted to get everything together as soon as possible, just ‘like it should be’. The white picket fence. Guess what happened… I failed. And not once, no, I kept trying and failing.
Traumatic experiences affected my view on the future. People told me more than once: ‘it happened, forget about it. Do not dwell on it.’ But these experiences scar you. You cannot forget about them. And if you can, it is temporary: it always comes back to you.
These experiences made me feel insecure about myself. I gained weight, developed performance anxiety and stopped doing things people could judge me for: like school and hobbies. I told people I felt great and acted nonchalant. I acted like nothing could hurt me, even though I got bullied in high school and had fights with my mom. But deep inside me I felt hurt, it certainly touched me.
Acting like nothing touched me was so much easier than showing I could not get my life back on track. People told me that I was not worthy of love and that I would never succeed in life. If you hear that often enough, you will start to believe it.
Giving my past a place
When I started working on myself, my attitude towards the outside world changed. I lost weight and got perfectionistic. But I stayed insecure and had difficulty handling newness. So I got quiet and nothing was good enough for me anymore. I was not acting nonchalant anymore but showed that I worked hard to take care of myself.
That was when I got a burnout. Obviously. I worked so hard to make myself worthy. I would always blame myself. My contract not extended? My fault. Toxic relationship? My fault. Feelings of failure? My fault. I tried to get this punitive voice out of of my mind but I could not, not alone.
Therapy sessions taught me I was worth it: I learned to love myself even though I did not have an education or promising bank account. The punitive voices reduced, they are still there but I do not let them have control over me. However, slowing down is still hard for me. The people around me help me and keep an eye on me. They want to prevent me rushing into things again, and so do I.
Sometimes I can actually be proud of myself. Other times, I look at my partner and think: I do not deserve you. But then he hugs me tightly and tells me he loves me, which makes me get rid of the negative thoughts and helps me enjoy the moment.
So, my past is really important to me. It is part of me. I never want to forget about my experiences, positive and negative. But what is important is not to get stuck in those memories. Therefore I needed therapy, and that brought me so much positivity. I still learn, every day. My partner teaches me not to worry about little things. He helps me to enjoy life. What more could I ask for?
but not enough.
I stall no longer,
the world is waiting for me.
I am free,
there is enough to do.
The song of this week is Jamai – Genoeg te doen. Not because my partner left me, but because I feel this way about my past. I let go of what happened and and enjoy the future.
Love, Renée x