It was from taking your power back and taking control of your life.
What you will do is come to accept it, learn from it and draw strength from it. It's talons that are dug into your soul will loosen their grip the more you stop trying to fight it. Once you make the conscious decision to embrace the fact that you can't go back and change history, but you can change your tomorrows - the freedom you will begin to feel will be life changing.
Well-meaning people will tell you to; "Just forget it and move on." Others will tell you to; “Let it go already.” You will read books in the hopes that the lessons within the pages will teach you how to forget. How to erase the memories. You will finish each one hopeful, only to come crashing back to reality when the memories and hurt invade your thoughts again.
You will never forget. Your past is woven into your soul. Some of it has left wounds that over time have healed or are still in the process of healing. Soul scars are potent tells of your strength against adversity. You may have been wounded deeply, but you had to the power and the fortitude to heal yourself, and it wasn't by forgetting what happened. It was from taking your power back and taking control of your life.
We arrived at this friendship as the culmination of our pasts. Me, arriving weary and jaded, struggling to let the light back in. Her, open and trusting, faced with learning how to handle the harshness of reality. Both of us learning something new each day. I joke about popping the bubble she lives in, and she gives me a hard time about expecting the worst.
She told me one day that she felt sorry for everything I had been through and was completely taken aback when I told her not to be, I wasn't. I wouldn't be who I am today if it wasn't for how I grew up. I wouldn’t be who I am today if I hadn't made the mistakes I did or trusted people I shouldn't have. I wouldn't be where I am today if none of it had happened.
I wouldn't be able to help people if I'd never had to help myself.
I'd be lost if I had forgotten. I wouldn't have the wisdom to pull from, the been there - done that attitude that serves me well today. Had I forgot the pain, I wouldn't have the ability to appreciate the feeling of healing. I wouldn't know what it takes to survive and what I must do to let the light back in. I wouldn't know what I was capable of. I wouldn't have an arsenal full of knowledge to pull from when something happens today, tomorrow or next year. I wouldn’t have the empathy I do for others. I wouldn’t see the world with eyes wide open. I would fear the future because of the unknown things that could happen. Because of my history, I’ve learned just to go with the flow and not get worked up over things that haven’t happened yet, may never happen and trust myself to handle whatever happens. I know bad things are bound to happen, it’s life. I am a realist. I just trust myself to see my way through them now.
All because I didn’t forget.
I used to wish for a delete button inside of my mind so that I could selectively erase memories that made me sad or fearful. Now I wish for the ability to draw the lessons from my memories so that I can be happy, more optimistic and use what they have taught me to help others. One of the biggest things I have learned – you will never forget but once you change your perspective, see things a little differently, feel a little differently – a whole new world opens up. You settle into yourself and stop fighting within your soul. The light finds its way back in and one day you just know you are stronger for your story. You have power because of your story.
You are ready for more of your story to unfold. The past. The present. The future. Your life.