Rewriting narratives of trauma in youth

So, the past week I’ve been working up the courage to get this all on paper (virtual). The courage to own a few things, and apologize for a few others… and while the drafts are full, I think it best to keep a more succinct version of the message I’d like to share. So here it goes.

Last weekend I moved back home for the first time in seven years. And while the reasons for doing so are important to my story, they aren’t important to this one – so let’s fast forward to a couple days after the move.

Anyone who has moved knows how daunting the first week is. Aside from setting up bills and furniture there’s also organizing and nesting and… well you get the point. But when moving home at 25… well moving home at any time comes with its own set of additional issues and nostalgia – which is why I somehow convinced myself to open up old yearbooks at 1am. (Very smart I know)

Now, anyone who knows me knows I don’t think fondly of my high school years. And with the exception of a few people I don’t really do anything or talk to anyone that would take me back to the headspace I was in back then. But something about where I am now and who I am now made me think I could handle putting myself back there for a bit. (Spoiler alert: I couldn’t)

But not for the reasons you’d think.

See I wasn’t bullied in high school, and while I wasn’t completely ignored either, I didn’t think I had much to live for so I unilaterally decided that everyone around me cared as little about me as I did. (With a few exceptions) But that wasn’t true. I mean sure there were a few people I put on a slightly higher pedestal because I allowed them to get close but the other half of the narrative I built was that, aside from the few, no one else cared, but actually, quite a few people did. And if they didn’t it wasn’t because they didn’t try it was because I wouldn’t let them.

See seven years ago I packed up my narratives and I packed up my things and I left this place. Seven years ago I ran like hell toward something entirely different. And while that was all well and good, somewhere along the way I decided to let myself believe that my past was a monster far greater than reality permitted – so now that I’m back, the hardest part is realizing that the fairytale I created wasn’t as Grimm as the one I lived.

Which brings us to the owning and the apologizing.

When it comes to being honest with ourselves it’s much easier to live in half truths. It’s easier to play a victim rather than come to terms with the fact that we are our stories greatest villain. And when you get caught up in a pattern where you believe that everyone leaves, well it’s easy to think that helping them out the door is the least you can do.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s crazy that I was so scared of this place and my past but really the thing I was running from and the thing that hurt the most wasn’t the fact that anyone else judged or hated me. It was that I did. And sure, high school was not perfect, the people weren’t perfect and maybe some things could have gone differently but I made it and honestly there aren’t too many things I would change.

So here’s to the future. To true narratives. And to owning it more than I did the last time around.

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