We’ve all heard the quote “the past is in the past” or something along those lines. I tend to disagree; sometimes we don’t get to choose whether or not our past follows us throughout different stages of life.
Not too long ago, my mom and I were having a conversation about raising kids and how I’m basically scared to death to raise my own. I know I’ll figure it out, and I know she’ll be there whenever I have crazy questions or requests. I mean, everyone figures it out, right? We were chatting about different stages kids go through in their life and my mom mentioned the stage some go through of disliking their parents. She thought this happened around 14 or 15 years old, give or take. I sat for a moment while she was talking about it and I truly don’t remember ever going through that stage or phase in my lifetime. I felt odd asking, but I asked my mom if she felt like that was something I went through. She looked at me and said “well, when you have something traumatic happen to you when you’re 11 years old, you tend to look at life a little differently and not take the ones you love for granted”. I sat for another moment and thought to myself, you know, she’s right.
Those of you who don’t know me personally, may not know that when I was in sixth grade, my dad was in a serious motorcycle accident. It happened on a Saturday morning and my dad was on his way home to watch me play a softball game early that morning. On his way home, he hit a deer on his motorcycle. I won’t go into details about the day it happened, although it’s a day that will forever be engraved in my mind. I felt guilty that my dad was on his way home for me. I felt that it was my fault that he was in his accident. I kept telling myself that if he wasn’t coming home for me that morning, none of this would have happened. This is a guilt I carried with me for some time. I don’t remember how or why, but I know my parents noticed a difference in who I was as a kid after his accident had happened. My mom decided it would be best for me to spend time talking with a therapist and while I don’t remember the extent of those meetings, I do know it was something I wasn’t thrilled about doing and was truly too young to understand that she was doing what was best for me.
Still to this day, I think that one day changed who I am as a person. If you know me, you may know that I have a heart that sometimes gets me in trouble. It’s a true blessing to have a heart that is so big, but at other times, it feels like a burden. I also tend to get anxious often. It’s hard to hear people tell me “just relax” or “it’s going to be okay”, because to me, it’s not that simple. I truly wish it was.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that we truly have no idea what someone has been through in their past. Even if you think you do, there is a good chance you don’t know the whole story. So before you’re so quick to tell that anxious person to “relax” or “calm down” just remember that they could have gone something truly traumatic that shaped them to be the way they are and maybe they wish deep down that they could change that about themselves, but the simple fact is, it’s just not that easy.
I wouldn’t change my upbringing or my childhood for anything. I have the absolute best family and support system I could possibly ask for. I thank God every single day for that. They’re my biggest cheerleaders and love me for who I truly am. I know that raising my own family come May will have its challenges but it’s something that I can’t contain my excitement for. I hope to instill good values in my own children and raise them to be kind human beings because at the end of the day, that’s really all that matters.