I have done some terrible things. Not in the scale of war, or credit card scams or armed robbery. But making passive aggressive youtube videos about ex’s, mass e-mailing my entire elementary school someones number, kicking someone so hard in the shin they fell down a hill.
I once dumped a jug of water on my brothers head at a restaurant, punched my friend in the face for touching my butt, and completely stood up a guy at the movies instead of just telling him I wasn’t interested when he wasn’t getting the hint. I blamed my mom for my attempted suicide because I wanted her to feel as bad as I did, because I wanted to bring someone down to my level.
I am reactive. I am over-reactive. I can be juvenile, immature, dramatic, and act psychotic when the wrong button is pushed (or pushed for so long that it gets jammed). I’m not trying to brag, I’m not saying these traits are something I proud of or want to display. They are scary, accompanied by very scary feelings.
But most people don’t get to see that side of me. And I rarely see that side of anyone else. Which is okay, because I don’t want or need to know about every single persons dark deed and nor do they need to know about mine. What I’m trying to say though, is that these sides of us are here in all of us and they do not define us.
There are some of us who won’t cuss until we’re 20, will never lay a hand in a malignant way against another living being, and who are able to talk themselves out of sending that really hurtful message. I applaud these people who have never told their boss to go fuck themselves, called their principle an asshole, or refused to get back in the car on the side of the highway. But sometimes not being grateful enough, not trying enough in school, or just feeling like you’re not a good role model for a younger sibling can eat away at you in the same way.
I think the only way these episodes have defined me is that I know I will never sink that low again. When the rubble subsides there’s an extra inch of rock at the bottom on my life and every experience has brought me a little closer to the surface each time disaster has struck (or in a lot of cases, I have struck).
These are the multitudes. These are the blacks and whites that we all have in our lives – of hurting and being hurt. I know that I think more about the wrongs I’ve done than the wrongs that have been done unto me. My guess would be most of you feel the same way.
So I’m thinking about what it takes to move forward from these things that tend to shadow the good parts; that try to undermine the knowledge I’m using that I’ve gained from these moments; that tries to invalidate the human experience. It’s not about self-awareness but self-forgiveness, and the best advice I have for myself is that when a plant has dead leaves and buds they are shed so that the water can go into growing the parts of the plant that need it -not trying to revive what is already gone. They fall to the ground and eventually rot and compost themselves and more things grow and the cycle continues. And I encourage you to all do the same. Let go of the parts that no longer serve you, and know that you’ve still been growing – will still continue to grow (better so) -without them.