I have no clever quotes or catchy photos for this post, All I have is just this raw, sincere glimpse into my past.
One of the paradoxes regarding time is how the perspective of one moment can change so drastically. What you once thought happy you might find yourself cringing with angst. Or, maybe you’ve lost someone who you didn’t appreciate, and now you see the loss. You get the jest.
Then, sometimes, you have a meltdown and you simply have to face reality. Maybe the one you once held in such high regard, is not the saint envisioned. Whatever the case, it’s interesting how the passing of time has the ability to change emotions, while the memory in itself stays the same.
At 14, my mom was almost killed in a wreck. It ended up being not only the catalyst to ending her marriage, but it exposed me to the world of medicine. At the time, I saw it as a curse and devastation, instead of an event that would change the trajectory of my life. This included the developement as a career choice later down the road.
Reflecting at different points, especially after accumulating some greys, those monumental moments can shift from something that seems horrific, to almost comical. Other times, what you made a joke and found to be funny – well, they weren’t so funny after all. Such was the case of my dad and his second wife.
I’ve touched a little about when I was 15 and my father married a 17-year-old. As a sophomore in the early 90’s, I would hop into the backseat of the car and my father would drive my stepmom and myself to high school every morning. I made this a joke for a very long time.
Looking back now, I see it was really a front seat to a something akin to a freak show. I’d watch my stepmother, a senior, hop into the passenger’s side and interlock fingers with my dad while we darted down the road. As we headed to the school, she’d light a cigarette, take a drag, and lean it over to my father’s lips so that he could partake. It was truly a site.
Meanwhile, my mother was drinking herself to an oblivion, location unbeknownst to me most of the time. That was my reality.
Denial is such an awesome coping mechanism, right?
I used to say to people who thought my situation odd, “So. This is not that big of a deal.”
It was a big deal.
Lying to myself wasn’t productive, but what else was I to do?
Accepting that sometimes people are just selfish, or simply don’t care about us like we want to believe is more than just a bitter pill to swallow – it’s more the equivalent of an asphyxiating plastic bag to the face. As a teen, had I accepted my father really didn’t care much about anything but his hormones and resolving his mid-life crisis, I couldn’t have survived in my habitat at that time. I would have choked on my reality.
It’s a complex story, and could not possibly be confounded in a solitary post, but it begs the question:
Is there something, or things, that you swallowed as a child or young adult that you pretended didn’t happen or wasn’t a big deal at the time, but time changed your perspective?
If so, what are YOU going to do with it now?
How have you allowed it to affect your life?
Personally speaking, I allowed people to treat me in ways that were unacceptable. In turn, unfortunately, I’ve done the same to others. Now I must be acccountable for both.