Friday, January 17

better, not bitter

Today, "what could have been" looked me in the face. And boy, did it have a lot to say in very few words. It caught me completely off guard, of course, as I was mid-chew into my Boston Creme Pie donut but that's exactly my point: it's only when you're scarfing down a pastry enjoying how sweet your life really is that your past stares you in the face and you realize just how far you've come.

I'm not bitter towards my past because long ago I realized how thankful I was for it. I'm not bitter towards the years I spent studying something I hated and the time I wasted worrying too much about what other people were doing instead of worrying about what I was doing. 

Another friend of mine said to me this week over coffee, "Remember that conversation we had when you were studying for your physics final?" Yes, yes I did. Distinctly. It was a conversation that jerked me back into reality and gave me what courage I could soak up to make some definitive choices about nearly every aspect of my life.

I wondered later this afternoon how much of our lives are dictated by our own actions and how much is dictated by the actions of others. I wouldn't be where I am today if not for choices other people made and I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't stopped to listen to what my friend was telling me that day on her living room floor. It made me realize how much is out of our control and how, in the end, that is sort of an amazing thing. We can't know the effect someone else's choice will have on us until months or even years later, but undoubtedly they do have the ability to send us far away from the path we meant to take. Wouldn't life be boring if everything happened our way? And consequently, how much about ourselves would we never find out if things happened the way we planned? There are so many layers and hidden strengths buried beneath our own doubts and opinions about what's best for us that sometimes the only way for things to get better is for things to happen to us. The only things we can control are our own reactions. 

So, my sweet sweet past, thank you for showing me that I am more independent than I knew. Thank you for showing me that I have the ability to be a bad ass bitch when I need to be. I have a voice to be reckoned with. Thank you for showing me that I was deeply unhappy and needed to change. Thank you for shoving me towards a new haircut that I'd keep around for years to follow. Thank you for showing me, too, that I don't always need a big push from another person's choice to do something. I can get there on my own, too. Thank you for revealing that somewhere inside me is someone that is more courageous than she knew. And thanks for all the good memories, too. Not all of it was bad, in fact, most of is was pretty good. And it all turned out for the better.


Emma Jane said...

"I'm not bitter towards the years I spent studying something I hated and the time I wasted worrying too much about what other people were doing instead of worrying about what I was doing."

GIRL PREACH. This is my life. I spent so long trying to make myself love studying something I hated and it did not work. But I'm so happy I made myself miserable for a year because now I know the value of words and the value of hard work. I saw what my life could be and now I have an even bigger drive to chase it.

Tightrope to the Sun

Ebony Campbell said...

Girl, this stuff. I love this real life stuff. And the courage you have to write it. Sometimes I feel like I shouldn't put the 'negative' shit, the lists, the pondering. And then I read this and relate to this and heck, love you more for this and I feel okay about myself again. *happy sigh*

GO YOU. For owning that shit. and moving forward. Your future is so bright!