THE JUNCTION BETWEEN YOUR PAST AND PRESENT SELF
I’m really interested in the passing between the past and the present. To which of course I hear you ask isn’t that just…living? And well yes, the space between your past and your present is indeed a life, but it’s also a life of your own making.
Which begs the question — how much of one do you allow to impact the other.
There is a junction between not being too tied to who you once were and of being simultaneously aware of how your past infiltrates who you are today.
I can look at my Instagram memories and see pictures of a girl I don’t recognise. A girl who was dead behind the eyes and cut to the bone. Yet I’m also aware that the woman I embody today; fuller in not only a body but also a life, stands only as tall as she does because of the girl I once was.
I am who I am today because of the pain I once felt but I simultaneously do not want the pain I once felt to be a story I carry into the future. It’s a catch 22. An endless mindfuck.
Focus too much on who you once were, and you’ll remain stuck, living in the past; never amassing to anything worthy of the present you so dream of. Yet too much of living entirely of your present self, whilst initially seems like an intuitive, sincere pursuit, can quickly lapse your overall social and emotional judgement. You can forget where you came from and act only from a place of instant gratification.
It’s easy to dwell in both of these places and dwell many do.
I used to dwell in myself of the past. For a long time, I latched onto a long-outdated identity. One of pain, trauma and undoings. I don’t so much see myself through that lens anymore, which is generally good. I have for the most part come to the conclusion that I’m better off to not suffer. That the whole of me today doesn’t have to be compromised of whole parts of my past.
But the reality of who I once was doesn’t suddenly change because I am no longer that person. Just because I don’t have depression now doesn’t mean that I wasn’t once depressed.
Similarly, I try to not see myself as someone who has a broken relationship with food, trapped as a victim of my past, yet just this morning I had to skip reading a ‘body confidence’ issue of a glossy magazine because it triggered me. The reality being, no matter how hard you try to not identify with an old story, it can still weigh upon your present self.
And so I am interested in the conduit between such differing places — your past and your present. And whether the two can co-exist in balance — neither one in excess.
We hear of moments of change in divine intervention and grand choirs of painful revelations and reinventions; near-death experiences, almighty fuck-ups. But what if we simply crossed to the other side? If we simply looked both ways and walked across the bridge — one without flames, nor without anybody waiting to jump out and throw you off the edge. What if you simply, calmly, took yourself from the throws of your past and walked into the sunset of a new you?
One who could thank her past for all the fallouts, the failure and the fear and move on with her life with them not tattooed on her forehead but kept at the bottom of a bag. Meaning, those stories will always be there. They will always infer who you are and whom you are going to be, but you don’t have to always put them on show. They don’t have to be a part of how you carry yourself in your present life or how you keep yourself from evolving forwards. They are allowed to be reminders of how far you’ve come and be that, only.
Do you remember the premise of the children’s book, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt? The journeying family face obstacles in the way of a river, a snowstorm and various other tough terrains. The family know they can’t go over these obstacles, they know they can’t go under them — they know they have to go through them.
The only way out is to go through. It’s a metaphor I’ve been thinking of a lot lately. The journeying from one place to another. Or more so, what it takes to journey from one place to another and from one person to another.
However long it takes you to pass through from one side to the other; however long you stand in purgatory, you will move through because that is life. Life is simply the liminality between past and present. But the question is: when you do pass across that bridge, how much is going to be weighing you down? How delicately are you willing to breathe so to not quake the balance that levitates before you?
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