Just a short time ago I was completely against moving back to my hometown. I was uncomfortable with and overwhelmed by the thought of facing the horrible and traumatic memories of this. I didn’t want to deal with the people from my past, and around every corner was another reminder of times long past. I was depressed at the idea of being back in the place that had been the epicenter of so much pain for me.
The problem was that the town in which we lived was no longer a place where we had opportunities to grow.
With my husband talking about going over the road as a truck driver, and with no support system to speak of in the tiny little town we were living in, we decided that it would be best for us and our daughter to come back to the place where she was born in order to ensure that we would have help if we needed it. We packed up what would fit in our little car and left the house we owned as well as most of our things with the expectation of coming back soon for the rest of our things.
Being back here made me feel like I was emotionally right back where I had started. I felt like I was still the same scared and incapable person that I had been before we moved to Kansas four years before.
Today I had an experience that showed me just how much I have changed over time.
While attending the open house for my daughter’s new school, I ran into a man that I was once very much in love with. Years ago, when I was with him, I would have done nearly anything for him because I loved him so much. I would have debased myself, tolerated any treatment, and given up anything but my children for him.
Naturally, he didn’t treat me well. While he was not physically abusive, I always came last in everything for him. He had other girlfriends and used me for sex while denying that we were together. At the time I didn’t care. I realize now that my feelings were exceedingly unhealthy, but when I was young, stupid, and with him I didn’t care.
Today when we saw each other for the first time in nearly ten years, he approached me with his wife and two children. We chatted for a few minutes and then moved on, and I felt nothing. He was just a man that I had once known who was now a stranger, and I felt oddly free.
One of the things that I had feared most had just happened, and there was nothing more than the sweet sweet sense of release.
Each day that goes by is another step forward. Sometimes, however, it is difficult for us to see our own progress. As we live our lives, moving through the labyrinth of successes and failures, travelling along in the mass of jobs and chores and social engagements it is naturally difficult for us to realize just how far we have come. After all, “you can’t see the forest for the trees” is said for a reason.
You are beautiful; you are talented. You can do this!