I lived for 37 years before meeting my husband. 37 years is a lot of years. At times, it’s hard to imagine the thoughts, dreams, hopes, and heartbreaks of then-me. Then-me seems vague, somehow.
Now-me, and Mom-me are so righthere and rightnow that I forget how very much past darkness, and past lightnesses, have helped to shape now-me. Life’s details, beauty, and a kid’s ability to poop in the potty give way to an easy dismissal of the intensity, and the importance of forgotten feelings, and of past experiences. Sometimes, something happens, and it’s like I’m rightback. There, back, in the ago.
Sometimes, the trigger is a song. Other times, it’s a scent, a mood, or a sigh.
Those are the moments for remembering then-me.
I remember candlelight, soul-altering music, whispered promises, and oaths of forever and always. I remember peace, and hereness beneath the stars on a winter night in the mountains. I remember inhaling his breath, so that I could hold it inside of me. I remember fights, and possessiveness, and misunderstandings.
I weep for the wandering girl who was searching for the strength inside to realize that what was once inspiring, and invigorating had become draining, and damp. I cheer for the me who walked away. I cry for her, too. I tell her that she was brave and that she did the right thing. Because she was, and she did.
I remember sand in my toes, mugging for photos, my laughing family and friends, and having one of the best days of my life. I remember sunshine and freckles. Moonlight and waves. Screaming and disappointment.
I have been both the giver and receiver of elation. I have been both the giver and receiver of life-changing pain. Sadness. Regret. And then, somehow, mostly relief.
When it comes to past relationships, I have lied and been lied to. I have been brutally honest and the proud and trustworthy keeper of secret truths. I have been fair. I have been unfair. I have laughed until my insides were fed and then starved in the best of ways, and cried until my insides came out.
I have trusted and been trusted. I have both earned it and been undeserving.
At age six, I became blood brothers with my next-door neighbor and kissed him behind the bushes. Six-year old me loved him. Then, he moved away. I moved on.
At age thirty, I said goodbye to the dream of becoming a mom. Ten years later, I found it. A different man. A different child. The perfect child. Exactly how it was supposed to be.
For 37 years before I met my husband, I lived. Loved. Sometimes, that love was Important. Other times, it was misguided.
Now-me is grateful for all of the times. Hilarity, troll dolls, mountains, beaches, songs, magic, and goofiness infused my every fiber with a belief in childhood magic. Anger and insecurity infused them with new wisdom.
In the past 37 years, I’ve had a lot of experiences. Some love. Some not-love. Some self-awareness and some fuckedupness. All of which brought me here. To now-me. To mom me.
When it comes to past relationships, my husband thinks that the stickiness, messiness, special moments and perfectness – the details – don’t matter. Mostly, he’s right.
They don’t matter much to him.
They matter to me, though.
After all, every me that’s known any and all past loves and lives is grateful for them. Grateful for helping me to become the person who looks back at me in the mirror, today. The one who can say “Okay. It all ended up just fine, here, almost perfect even, after all.”
While I cannot know whether I returned the favor over the years, I like to think that I did. Because if not, really, what’s the point?
The point of living is to live. To love. To hurt. To grow. To be able to look ourselves in the mirror and meet our gazes with more than resignation. To meet our gazes with power, content, and occasional hard-won peace.
I think my husband and I are both able to do so. Even while kicking our former selves while wondering what we were thinking.
The best part of our pasts is that they’re that. And that moving forward, our pasts are our nextness. Our betterness. Our learnedness. We should thank our pasts for that.
For me, each past everything led me here.
To seeing this particular kid’s sweaty-wonder-filled face. To every beautiful, horrific, terrifying, painful, freeing, captivating, delicious, and amazing moment. Thank you, Past. You were an occasional asshole. And an occasional friend. You were worth both.
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. The sentence was “When it comes to past relationships, my partner/spouse thinks…” Your kickass hosts: Your hosts: Janine: Janine’s Confessions of a Mommyaholic Kate: Can I get another bottle of whine? Stephanie: Mommy, for Real me: finding ninee