Look, I’ll be straight with y’all. I’m As I continue to move forward in life and learn to cope with my illness, there is one thing I find holding me back: Who I used to be. I’m not proud of the guy I was in high school. I spent so long hiding behind a mask of confidence and a wall of bravado, I honestly couldn’t tell you who I really was back then. I was so worried about letting people see that I was just a normal human being – that I wasn’t some indestructible superhero – that it turned me into a monster. I spent so long hiding me feelings, that I just stopped caring about others. I was mean; if I didn’t think you were worth my time, I just didn’t give you it. I was heartless; I just simply didn’t care about how my actions affected other people. If I met a cute girl, I didn’t care if you were in a happy relationship. I forced my way into people’s lives and made them feel cared for and loved until I got bored, and then I just left. No reason, No warning, I just stopped talking to people when I was bored with them. I used others as tools for my own amusement, and didn’t care about the aftermath. I was a lot of things in high school, but above all, I was selfish.
Fast-forward to now, and I look at how much better not only my life is, but the lives of the people surrounding me because I let my heart care again. It really makes me wonder how I survived so long not letting myself feel, and it really makes me appreciate the people who have given me a fresh start and taught me to feel again. Yet, I still find myself holding back – not letting all of my true self show for fear of the monster I once was coming out again. How do I truly begin to mend and move forward, if I haven’t yet forgiven myself?
Now if you knew me in high school, you might be thinking “Aw, come on Lo. You weren’t THAT bad.” But you should know I’m my own worst critic. And looking back, things that y’all might think aren’t that bad, I’m absolutely horrified that I did it.
Last week, Dr. Mike Nelson (a local dentist here in Duncan, OK who has been helping me greatly as I try to get on the right track and someone you’ll definitely be hearing more about) asked me where my anger was coming from. He said that there was an anger within me that was holding me back and keeping me from achieving the happy, balanced life I’ve been searching for. I believe this anger is at myself. My past self. I’m angry that I let myself get so out of control. I’m angry that I didn’t open my eyes and see all of the pain I was causing. Most of all, I’m angry that I can’t forgive myself and let it go.
As I sit here at my computer writing this, I’m thinking, “ya know, if this was someone else asking you to forgive them for doing this, you wouldn’t have any trouble forgiving them.” And yeah, that’s probably true. I know that people make mistakes. Forgive, but never forget. Life is too short to hold grudges against people you love and care about. Why then, can I not forgive myself? I think it’s because I spent so long actually believing that I was more than human, actually thinking of myself as an indestructible super human, that the ghost of who I once was is haunting me. Even though I’ve moved forward and realized what was wrong, there’s still an echo of my past telling me I should’ve been better. I shouldn’t have made mistakes. I was supposed to be perfect.
It’s time to let go. Perfection is not achievable on this Earth; it simply doesn’t coincide with human nature. It’s time for me to accept that even I make mistakes, and forgive myself for the ones I’ve made in my past. Forgive, but never forget. So that I won’t make the same mistakes in the future. It’s time to let go, and truly move forward on the gray road to happiness.