Updated: Jul 8, 2020
It's been a minute since I've hopped on the blog, but low key, there's been a lot going on. These past years have been so milestone, turning 30 alone has been epic (I can hear the older generations saying in their heads, "just wait, it gets better") but seriously, I've learned a lot. It's true what they say, you do get better with age (well some of us do) so long as you drink water, exercise, enjoy life and don't get caught up in the same crap that holds you back every year.
Now I'm a big advocate for being present but in this post I want to talk about the dark, stormy days of the unspeakable past. You know? That thing yoga teachers are always telling you to let go of? My guess is not many people want to live in it, even if it was the greatest time of their lives and they can't stop wearing shit from the 90's. Aside from the warm sensation of nostalgia, most people want the ability to brush things off and move on from bad experiences. The question is how? If you're not the biggest fan of your past or maybe there's something you can't let go of, I want to share some advice on how to move forward so you can start living in the moment and enjoy more of 2020.
The idea that there's nothing we can do to change the past is a fallacy, we can confront it and hopefully by doing so, change our perception of it. To ignore trauma, or simply say things were okay when they weren't is only doing a disservice to yourself. What if we could go back in time? What if we did know then what we know now? Would we really be happier? Or are we playing with the delusion that "It could have been different"? Without hiding the answer like a needle in the haystack, I'm gonna shoot it straight; you need to confront your past and hopefully by doing so you can begin to heal.
Break Silence with Your Bestie
Whatever it is that's been eating at you for this long, the time for bottling up is over. I can always tell when people haven't put their demons to rest. The ones with short tempers, conniving characters, less empathy and more judgement than Judy. They wear the past on their sleeves and sometimes I just want to run up and hug the shit out of them. If you have the financial means to see a therapist regularly that's fantastic, open up as much as you can, that's what you're paying for, but if you're on a budget, grab your bestie. This is a prominent person in your life who would never judge you with hostility and is ready to take on whatever skeletons are in your closet. They are your day ones who literally laugh when you laugh, cry when you cry and pick you up when you fall. Before you go leaping into your deep history, make sure that safety net is solid, someone who will give you advice you trust. The worst thing is opening up your deepest vulnerability to some asshole who says "get over it."
Go Get Closure...
Getting closure can be one of the best ways to begin the healing process. This doesn't mean you should go back and start shit with everyone you ever had beef with, but if someone played a central part of your world and caused some damage, it can't hurt to reach out and tell them how it made you really feel. It's ugly, but it works. Whether it was your parents' constant put downs or the best friend who double crossed you, people deserve to know the truth with how you feel. Sweeping it under the rug doesn't make it just go away. Confront the person, especially if they're still a part of your life. Find out why things went down the way they did. Maybe you owe them an apology and its been eating at you for years? If they aren't available, share it with a close mutual friend. Similar to your bestie, someone who isn't going to just say what you want to hear. A falling out takes 2 to tango, so make sure you're open to both sides of the story.
Many times I've said things were okay when they weren't in order to avoid confrontation, not appear weak, or as if I can't move on. It always felt easier to let bygones be bygones and walk away but truth be told, you will subconsciously carry that pain the rest of your life and may unknowingly take it out on your present experience. Back in high school, a friend extremely close to me hooked up with a girl I was seeing and it hurt 😞 but I never wanted to show my pain 😀. Boys back then had a Snoop Dogg "Ain't No Fun" mentality which meant don't get attached to girls, you're a sucker if you do. It was a short fling anyway and it's not like I loved her, but the friend who betrayed me, that's what hurt. Still in a rap star's mind set, I thought to brush my shoulders off and keep on moving, it eventually caught up to me though. From that one experience, it became a habit to ignore some really crappy things people did. Of course, I pick and choose my battles but most times I wasn't doing it for my health, but for the sake of not rocking the boat. So I'd either distance myself from people or I'd hold a grudge because they basically got away with treating me poorly. This led me to self-sabotage many relationships by overthinking.
But Tread Carefully...
I was always curious to know why my friend did me dirty like that. Had I done something to him or the girl I was seeing? Did I say something or was I acting a certain way that made them think it was okay to hurt me? The answer is no, but I didn't know that, sometimes I still forget it's not always about me. Unless you're a huge douche, 99% of what people do is a reflection on them so it's important to remember no matter how someone treats you, it was because of how they felt about themselves at the time - that's just FACTS!... We still remained close after everything went down, 'cause like I said, I played it cool, we were super tight and yet we both knew things were never the same. I should have spoken my mind then, but I wasn't ready. The fear of being judged and alone wouldn't allow me to be honest, until one day I had to address the elephant in the room.
Organically bringing it up, I shared how I thought it was messed up what he did. I expressed how it really ruined my trust for a lot of people. Not knowing the damage caused, he apologized and agreed, mentioning that he was jealous of me back then and his own insecurity led him to making dumb decisions. I never would have guessed because homie was a mack but we ended up having a great conversation about the whole thing and I got to see a vulnerable side of him. Now I could have kicked him while he was down, and really let my feelings out but you can't blame everything you're going through now on what happened then. You're wiser and more cautious because of it, so take the good with the bad. If people can admit to their bullshit, be forgiving and empathetic. As I mentioned, most times people do crappy things it's because they aren't happy with life, so don't take it personally (unless you're a huge douche).
Now that could have gone a number of ways so before you go opening old wounds, make sure the other party is open minded enough to hear what you have to say first. Next, call or get face to face. Truth already hurts and too many relationships have been lost because text miscommunication. People can be extremely defensive so don't come off in attack mode. Set the intention that you only want to make things right but you need their help addressing the issue. That's the reason you are bringing it up, not to start shit, not to prove you are right and they were wrong, not to make them say sorry or make you feel better, it's simply something you want to get off your chest. After doing so, be ready to forgive. It's vital to give people an opportunity to apologize and explain, especially if they know and agree with you. We're all human and we all make mistakes, call people out on those mistakes especially if they're still making them, but don't do it maliciously, try to help them grow and heal their own wounds with awareness. Remember, nobody wants to receive a random phone call about how they fucked your life up.
The worst that can happen is someone doesn't have the same perspective as you or they may enlighten yours with something you weren't aware of. Be just as open minded when listening because they may have gone through the same thing you did. And even though you needed time to think before bringing this up, an apology for not doing it sooner goes a long way. People deserve credit for hearing uncomfortable stuff they weren't prepared to discuss. Think about If someone ignores you, that's a good sign. You really don't want to be messing with people who don't even have the stones to talk to you or who can't say they're sorry. Their time for confronting the past will come later when they are ready just like you, you immature little grudge holder you 😉. Give yourself credit for maturing a wee bit faster, then be done with it. Don't forget that not everyone is going to welcome you back with open arms but the ones who are willing to have a conversation are good people and you both can rest knowing the situation was handled like chill individuals. Even if they believe things ended for a reason and it's better to not be in each other's lives, that my friend is still closure.
But don't forget...
So now that you've braved the most traumatic experience of your life what do you do now? Did it turn out how you wanted? No? That's okay! Be proud that you tried! All we can do is try and after a certain point you have to decide, "Is it worth my energy? Is it worth losing this present moment?" Your body and mind are amazing machines and trust me, they will know when to throw in the towel. So if anything celebrate by NEVER bringing it up again!! Haha! Jokes. Of course you can drop the story here and there but remember, you're the hero now! You don't need to talk trash behind anyone's back anymore. No more victim shit because you've confronted it authentically and can HONESTLY let it go now. I couldn't stand when people would say "just let it go" because it's only hurting you. Yeah, that might be true, but ignorance is bliss and if that doesn't work for the police I don't want to take any chances on my own well being. Sure, I could say whatever I need to in my head to make me feel better about the situation, but I would just be lying to myself. Truth is closure, finding the ability to see the human in someone else is key, knowing people make mistakes just like you, that's when grudges cease. Even if you never speak to that person again, your experience with them can help you see the human in yourself and others faster, grudging less and less often, speaking up more and more. When all is said and done you should feel at peace, like you don't want to speak ill of that person or situation anymore, as if there's more clarity in your other relationships. That is the feeling of freedom. Don't be defined by your past, learn from it.
I recommend starting a journal and writing in it everyday! Not a blog, not a lengthy Yelp! review, not a Reddit post, not anything that can be influenced by the public. Start a good old fashioned pen and paper journal like Doug from the classic Nickelodeon show (damn 90's nostalgia). Go back once a month and read what you wrote. Be conscious about the things that make you smile and the things that make you upset. Write about people you encounter, the ones that give you butterflies, the others that rub you the wrong way. This self-reflection tool comes in handy to make sure you're not repeating the same mistakes you did years ago. Maybe you'll find a connection between your bad past experience that is still showing up in present moments. Writing things down gives the brain space for mental clarity so pay attention to yourself especially. You may love what you read but you may also be a bit disappointed at yourself. When I started writing in a journal, I often looked back and said "Ugh, why did I think like that?" or "Damn, that's how the day went?" Witnessing so many silly moments of what upset me in an isolated manner got me looking at a bigger picture and made me determined to change some habits.
When revisiting your old entries, take an outsider's perspective, would you be friends with the author? Are they mad at everyone for every little thing? Do they still blame others without taking some responsibility? Do they repeat certain habits like staying silent too often, or being boisterous on a regular? Do you see evolution with every entry? Are the friends and the people they associate with evolving? Or do they keep setting themselves up for disappointment? This map will help you see your own big picture. In one aspect you will be so proud of how much you grow every day and the other will make you realize you need to take more responsibility, that you might be the one goofing up. When we can laugh, not judge ourselves, we're capable of letting things go easier. "Oh dear, I got mad at Sally again for calling me Frannie pants, I should talk to her about it, or maybe I'm being oversensitive. Classic Frannie." You have new chance with every sunrise to switch it up so that the story you write at the end of the day is different than before. One you will enjoy looking back at.
At the end of the day it's not what's happened to you, it's how you handle it. Accept challenges to face issues head on. Everybody wants to appear like the carefree, no bad blood, I just ghost everything so I have no problems type, thinking I'm too good to even talk to that person again. But in reality you're only building delusion and creating a bigger world of your own alienation. Never speaking about a situation doesn't make it go away, time reveals everything. So stop being a little punk and face confrontations head on! My generation doesn't know it now, but later we're in for a world of hurt. Like the parent who shelters their kid way too much, there's a huge potential for rebellion. So please, get uncomfortable this year. Say something that should have been said years ago. Make it right if there was wrong. Take a breath with every tough situation and know that you can handle it right then and there. Practice the ability to confront the present before it becomes the past every single day, excellence is a habit.