What’s In the Past

I remember my past like scenes in a movie.

As if it all happened to someone else, in a different reality, separate from the one I currently reside in. I say “I” and “me” when recounting the sordid tales, but feels like a lie. Despite all evidence and witnesses that confirm their truth, I cannot always believe it all happened to me. I feel like a fraud in my own memories.

I feel like I am too many people.

That little girl in Texas, that messy teen in Tooele, the exhausted worker at University- I know they are me, but they all exist separately. Distinct characters in their own settings, with their own personalities and motivations. They are all too different to be one person or belong to one story. So, how can I believe they are all part of this life? Can one person evolve so much?

Is this all a part of self discovery?

Is it normal to feel so disassociated in your youth? Is the inability to relate to your past just a phase we all go through? I’ve gotten to a stage where even my name feels like a pair of borrowed shoes: a decent fit, but doesn’t feel quite right. As if the size is right, but instep was broken in for someone else. Like I am stepping into a fill a role written for a different actor. The star is dead, but the show must go on.

Maybe I am a different person now.

As we age, our brains continue to develop, and our experiences start to shape our outlook. In that sense, isn’t it naturally to feel distance from your childhood and teenage selves as an adult? Just as our interests, tastes, beliefs, and values change over time- wouldn’t our sense of identity also shift? Memories blend together, shift, and fade- so isn’t a little disassociation to be expected? Isn’t change part of life?

This is probably my sign to return to therapy.

Maybe I’m overthinking this all, or maybe there is something profoundly wrong with me. Okay, there is definitely a lot of things wrong with me- but maybe that’s normal. The past is important for shaping who we are and who we become, but it isn’t everything. So, maybe it’s okay that it’s slipping away. Maybe I need to leave my broken pieces behind so I build a better future.

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