One of the best pieces of advice that ever jumped off the page for me: Let go of your personal history.
At first it seemed like a tough pill to swallow: wait! what? where are you going with that? I earned that, dammit.
But it was only in that moment when I realized that the very things, all along, I would’ve liked to have done without, I clung to like a badge of honor.
So which one was it? Do I want it, or not.
Could I really be me without some of those very hurtful, harmful and even horrifying things?
I spent much of my life trying to make “victim” cool or chic. It’s what I was. The cards I was dealt, so why not make the best of ‘em, right?
With some special mental calculator, I had worked out the math: the world owed me. And I was willing to wait. And wait.
I was jaded, and perhaps rightfully so. I’d been the sole witness to my mother’s murder. I was only in kindergarten when I testified against my father. Even after his conviction, he continued to deny what I’d seen with my own two eyes. I was eight when he finally led authorities to her body and came clean of his crime. We had all only just begun to move on.
And move on we did, eventually. But not without the scars that color your attitude, your relationships, your perspective.
It had its upsides; I won’t lie. I grew up with my grandmother, which as you can imagine, was a lot of dessert. In high school I was fun and popular, but I could also get down with the dark emo kids, writing poetry, and cutting in the closet after school. Self medication was a big plus; I made a sport of it. Winning on all accounts.
But the Bandaids never stayed put. The gaping wounds never sealed. They still oozed anger and resentment and tears of aching grief.
I was thirty when I read those words: Let go of your personal history. Years of relationships tainted by mistrust, jealousy and fear of abandonment proved that there was absolutely nothing chic about playing victim.
I was ready to let go. To accept. To be grateful even.
No longer did I believe that all this had happened to me. I finally understood that it had happened for me.
They were my cards, yes, but whose to say whether they were good or bad. They just were.
And looking back, I’m pretty darn proud of how I played them. Even in ignorance, I did my best.
That was six years ago now, when I let go. No meltdowns since or need for self medication. I kid you not, I have yet to have a bad day since. I have my moments, yes. Those triggers still hit when I want to spill my guts say one more time to justify those feelings I’m no stranger to, but I don’t. I won’t.
It’s just a story. I remind myself. It’s just a useless story.
Besides, I’m too busy these days trying to figure out just what it is I owe the world.
Thanks for reading! And thank you for your stories.
Feedback is always welcome.
Oh, and shoutout to Heather Evans;)
Kat Hurley is the author of I Think I’ll Make It: A true story of lost and found, she’s also a speaker and personal development coach, making over motivation at The Year of Magical Dreaming (tyomd dot com). Also, on the twitter at underscore kathurley.