Four years ago I was preparing myself to leave. I wanted to leave my painful heart and my family’s drama behind. I wanted to give myself a break, a new start, or at least that’s what I convinced myself of. I thought it was my chance to break free and become independent. Once I moved abroad, I started paying my bills, taking care of my food and clothes… I told myself I was an official grown up now, and that the past didn’t exist. I wanted to have no memory or recollection of it, but that’s not how it works, is it?
It took me years to move on from my ex. It took me a lot of crying, a lot of numbness, a lot of weird dreams at night, and a lot of inner work. For a while, I pretended I didn’t care about him and that I didn’t want to know whether my parents randomly bumped into him on the street or had a two-minute chat between them. However, each time my mother said she had seen him, I would feel a punch in my heart. I moved on, later, but I didn’t make total peace with the past, so the subject was a trigger. The story was never properly closed, and I never felt really comfortable with the idea of bumping into him or his family ever again. How would I react? Would I be able to stand my ground?
It was with great horror that I faced the fact that my sister’s kenpō teacher is a family member of my ex. He reached out to me, telling me who he was a good few months back. I froze in time, not wanting to believe what was happening. At the same time, flashes from the past started to come through my mind. Yes. It was him. I could remember now. The past was unlocking itself very rapidly, and I couldn’t do anything about it. Did that mean I had not moved on? Was I still stuck on my ex? When would I finally be released from it?
Time has past, and time has also brought answers. My issue was not after-all with my ex but with how I decided to deal with the past. I had wanted to get rid of it without realising it is a part of me too. No matter how much time goes by, what happened will always be a part of me. I didn’t move on not because I still loved my ex, but because I refused to accept the past as something that had happened and which had messed up my life. I was honestly ashamed of the past, and I tried my best to make it disappear, because I didn’t want to deal with it ever again.
The funny thing about life is that it always gives you lemons when you are desperately looking out for honey. After I moved abroad, my parents relocated to the village right next to where my ex lives. When I would come visiting them, I always felt anxious whenever I had to walk through his village to get to the nearest small city. Finding out about my sister’s teacher connection and having to personally talk to him functioned like the final trigger.
I didn’t understand why all this made me nervous, but now I do. I didn’t want the past to be a part of me. I was resisting its existence, hoping it would go away forever. At the time, I thought it was the best way to protect myself and of giving me the chance of being happier. Life doesn’t work that way though. Whatever we resist, grows bigger; and the bigger it grows, the more harmful it gets. Today I’m happy I faced my fear and anxiety. I’m grateful that I saw how I have been the one blocking my own way towards peace. By avoiding the past, I also missed out on opportunities to talk to lovely people such as my sister’s teacher, his wife and son. I would have never known how people were fond of me then and how I didn’t go unnoticed. In truth, I wouldn’t have felt a little happier today if I hadn’t faced my fear of embracing the past.