I very often think of myself in my past circumstances as if I were a completely difference person. I suppose that’s almost accurate. The Me I am now has the experience that Past Me necessarily lacks. Sometimes when I think on Past Me’s struggles I think of what a shame it was that she suffered so much. She didn’t suffer trials that were particularly harrowing as far as humanity is concerned, but maybe that was the problem. She hadn’t had an idea of the great many sources of pain in the world, and so when she left the warm hearth that was her parent’s home, she did so openly, excitedly, and completely unprepared for what would await her. The first breath of freezing air is never enough to kill, but it shocks, and it suffocates. It doesn’t kill, but it masquerades as death.
So Past Me endured heartbreak. Did she do so gracefully or wisely? Not at all. She was clumsy. She acted foolishly. The break was jagged and ugly. But I don’t blame her. I can’t. She expected the world would try her, but not that she would be so ill-suited for the challenge, or would suffer for so long. So, I can’t be surprised that she would do whatever it took to lessen her agony. I guess picking up the largest piece of her broken heart from the floor and handing it back to the one who so carelessly dropped it, might have seemed a decent solution to Past Me. I’m sure she thought it might even be what a person was supposed to do.
What I can’t remember now is whether Past Me was ever surprised again to see her fragile heart broken over and over into smaller and odder bits. The second time she saw it tossed to the floor, did she feel the same betrayal? What about the third? Was it less and less each time? What I am sure of is that she would never again trust herself as an appropriate challenger for the world and the pain it inflicts. It was so much stronger than her, Past Me learned that well. The world, she figured, will always come up with new and advancing ways to tear her apart. Whenever faced with one of these, she did her best to hurt as little as possible, even at the expense of personal growth.
Here is where I wish she had done better, since this directly affects me. Had Past Me endured all the pain that was meant for her then, there’s a chance it might be over by now. Instead she chose to drag it out, feeling only when she couldn’t help it (and even then it felt like death). You see I get it now that her pain was supposed to be horrible, but was only supposed to be a learning experience. Instead, she made it a way of life, and wounds that should have closed after six months, sit open and festering after six years.
She should have left him alone after the first breakup. I know this because I have the brilliant clarity that hindsight brings. Had she known what I know I’m sure she would have made the right decision. She only tried to make things work with him to stop the hurting. She couldn’t know trying to make it work just to stop the hurting would be the most important task in her life for years to come. She had no way of knowing that he could never love her, that her ever-increasing efforts would ultimately be in vain. Only I can see that.
I can’t help now but to think that I’d be a different person if only… I don’t know what. I just know I’d be someone with a lot less hurt. That’s what I want. I want to lessen this pain.