Grieving Past Selves

Photo: Robert Delgado via UnSplash

I have the 1975 on repeat. I tend to listen to artists, songs, really on repeat until the lyrics feel like breathing to me. “Love It If We Made It,” is my current obsession. The sounds and vibrations are bringing me back to feelings I’ve been long fleeing from. I’ve been looking through some of my poetry from college and I’m settled here in bed next to my boyfriend, life partner. I’m content.

What am I feeling though, underneath this contentedness?

I’m not so sure lately.

My therapist and I have been discussing grieving past selves and the trauma that it stirs up. I don’t know if that’s what’s been occurring these past 6 months but I’ve been rattled with numbness, irritability, and confusion while my life has been streaming fast forward.

I’ve graduated and moved in with Alec, who I love very deeply. I’m searching for jobs and constantly checking my drinking habits — constantly checking my mental health — taking my medication, being the me I need to try to be, want to be.

Who is she?

I’m having trouble finding her through the contrast between all the great things going on in my life and my uncooperative emotional baggage. Sometimes I wish I could simply drop my bags off on the front door and in the morning they would be long gone — forgotten, buried, spread out on someone else’s mental map.

I know I’m human, and trauma is natural in the sense that everybody has something going on, but the something(s) I’ve got going on are mostly of the past. They tend to trip me up when I remember the pain I’ve been through, the decisions I made — the decisions that were made for me, drunk me, unconscious me.

These traumas are riddled with misunderstandings of a past self I half hate, half love. Love in a way that I wish I could’ve told her everything I know now and love in a way that makes me wish she had better. Hate in a way that I hate everything that happened to her, hate because I blamed (blame) her most of the time.

I’ve come to unravel these thoughts, but the rawness of the emotions stump me. So much of what has happened to me in the past, what I’ve gone through and done, has shaped me into who I am today. That doesn’t mean my traumas weren’t harmful and it doesn’t mean I’ve even begun to smooth over the emotions I buried in the time that all this pain occurred.

I have years worth of unanswered emotional turmoil that needs to be dealt with, I’m just not sure how to keep going. I guess I have to. I know I do. It always comes back to being the best version of myself. I want to meet her so badly.

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Becky Harrison : Certified klutz, free spirited, go-get-em goof ball. Loves writing poetry and the beach. Strong believer in bucket lists.