“You’re just like your mother!”
There are people in this world that don’t take that as an insult, but I’m not one of them. Likewise, I nearly broke my hand in several places while my mother berated me for being “just like my father.” He had left her and left me in his place.
To this day, it makes me bristle to hear that I am anything like either of them (though it’s unlikely someone would get the chance to make the comparison since I don’t often interact with them). I’m certainly not trying to be insulting or hurtful to my parents, but they made certain choices during my formative years that they either couldn’t or wouldn’t change. None of us can change our history, but we can deal with it. I’ve spent my life trying to do everything different than they did; to make better and divergent choices–to be my own person on my own path, forging ahead without letting my past influence my decisions.
Then I read an article that described me nearly to a tee…it may as well have been written with my name as the subject. After reading, I felt as if I’d been hit in the gut; as if I’ve fallen flat, failed in my endeavours to separate from the path I feared. I never wanted to be, or thought I was, predictable…apparently I was wrong in that assumption as well. Apparently I can be read as easily as a book to those that know the language. I’m the first to profess that our baggage doesn’t need to define us, that we are free to make choices that separate us from our burdens and our pasts, but it seems that may be harder to live than it is to say. How hard it is, then, to know that deep down, no matter how hard we’ve tried not to be, we are still products of our upbringing. We may walk prescribed paths that we didn’t even know existed, all the while feeling as if we’re blazing our own trail. Apparently we still possess scars that we’ve become blind to from staring at them so often, but that others still see bright as day. We wanted to break the mold that shaped us, to be different, but apparently we are predictable in our journeys, nonetheless.
After careful consideration and contemplation, though, it all boils down to this: I am who I am, though I constantly strive to improve. I am a child of God. I have forgiven, although not forgotten. I am at peace with where I came from and where I will end up, if not necessarily comforted by the path between the two. I have flaws, baggage and hangups, but I also have hope, faith and love. I am a human being doing my best to get this life right, to glorify my savior and treat others around me better than I hope to be treated. Because that’s all I can do. It’s the only recourse I have. I can’t rewrite history and I will not let it define who I am.
Our past may always affect us, but our future is what we make of it…predictable or not. Forgive others and forgive yourself; live, love and share to the best of your ability.