The past is a puzzle, like a broken mirror. As you piece it together you cut yourself, your image shifts. And you change with it. It could destroy you, drive you mad or set you free,”
I have been contemplating this post for a few days. Ironically, it was in a small project I’m working on, while I am home, that inspired me. If you know me, you know that I am an avid reader and that my kindle is one of the processions that I will not leave the house without- you never know when you may have a spare minute or two to put your head in a book. So, what better place for a reader to spend their day than in a library? I do admit, working in the library and not being able to explore the books and authors has certainly been an exercise in self-control for me. As a part of a special anniversary project, one of our local companies, located in my home of Bermuda, has asked that I go through the media archives and locate some of their earliest advertisements. It is hoped that as they celebrate their present anniversary, and hopes for their future success, that appreciation can be had for their past and how far they have come.
Sitting amongst a collection of books written by some of the authors who have inspired and, in part, molded me, I found myself reflecting on my present, past and future. The quote featured above, was one that I stumbled upon in my early, teen years and I admit, the fifteen-year-old that I was did not understand. It is only now, nine years later, that I am beginning to understand my interpretation of that quote. Initially, I could not understand how the past, events that you have already lived through could be a mystery. It has been lived through, experienced. The outcome is known. How then, is that a mystery? Perhaps, the speaker was confused. Maybe, they meant to say that the future, or even the present was a mystery. This was the frustrating dialogue I remember having with a teacher. “You will not understand now, but in time, you shall,” she told me. I don’t know about anyone else, but that is always something that I have found incredibly frustrating. I have always wanted answers, the rhyme and reason to life, now; not years from now. Even now I find myself smiling, because in reflecting on that conversation, I found the key to the map that was that quote: perspective. It is extremely difficult to gain perspective when you find yourself in the midst of the event. In fact, I believe the task to be almost impossible. At the time of an event or life, we very often find ourselves on auto pilot. We are doing what we must to get those tasks done.
In the present, we are able to think back on sequences of events and begin to understand them. This was something I struggled with for many years and am still actively trying to work through. As I was encountering my challenges, especially those that were medical, I frequently asked why. I was desperately looking for the answers as to why this was happening to me, what I had done to deserve what was happening to me. I know now two things: It wasn’t anything that I had specifically done, it unfortunately was just happening and second, even if I had found the answer to that question, I would not have found myself satisfied. Life has given me my fair share of scars, emotional and physical, but with each of those cuts, I changed and grew. The second phase of this was acceptance. These experiences changed me, that is not in question, so I had only a few options, as the quote suggests: It could destroy me, drive me mad or set me free. I could allow the experiences and the evolving individual that is becoming me, to bring me to my knees, drive me mad with “whys” or become my liberation. In accepting the events of my past and allowing them to become stronger parts of myself, I would become free. My freedom has manifested into I Am Me. I am free from the heavy thoughts that threatened to pull me under. In that freedom I have rediscovered my voice, which has always been destined, I believe, to tell the chapters of struggles, difficulties, the story of acceptance and triumph and a beautiful, lesson filled life!