This past week, talks of the past, have somehow made their way into multiple conversations. Conversations that kept me up at night and ponder for hours, “How can we change all this for the better?” Here’s where it all lead me.. A bad past can cling to any of us, but I don’t think it should be the first filter in which we see the world.
Lately, it seems to me as though people’s past takes up a majority of their space and time. I’m not talking about having a glass of wine and getting nostalgic kinda time, I’m talking about dancing with your demons kinda time. The time in which they spend finding ways to legitimize why they make bad choices, disrespect the people who surround them and feel at home bantering on how the world is out to get them. If there’s one thing I’ve grown up knowing, is that your past does not have to define you.
Now, let’s get real, shall we?
When I was 6, my mom and I ran away from my dad, in the middle of the night to the sweet safety of The Excalibur Hotel and Casino. My dad knew where our usual hiding spot was, in the comfort of Mi Abuelita’s home. I assume the exhaustion from the thought of having to call the cops again when he showed up, then throw me over the fence to the safety of the neighbors, and then calm my grandpa into not actually using his shotgun, was all too much. He was a threat to my mom, the nerdy, smart, civil engineer, who would no longer stand for an environment that was unworthy of the life she was trying to build.
She ran like a bat out of hell, even while knowing she would be a single mother, who had been recently diagnosed with MS, who would eventually lose her ability to walk. A mother who would not be able to live the life, with her only daughter, in the way she had imagined. She would be back living in her high school home, re-learning how to walk with a cane, all whilst trying to show her daughter, that even with everything against her she would always find a way to keep her safe. Even if it meant running or restraining orders, or staying on the Vegas strip for days at a time, after pawning most of what we owned. My safety would never be compromised. While she couldn’t physically defend herself, she would defend her honor. She would not allow her bumpy past to define hers or her daughter’s future.
Even with a handicap, she became one of the first female, lead civil engineers at the Las Vegas Valley Water District, by the time I was 9. She was able to buy a home, send her daughter to a college preparatory school and rewrite her own story. The beginning would no longer begin with a happy relationship that turned sour, but an only daughter and her mother defying the odds. A duo, that even when she was bed ridden, would still be grateful for having time on this earth. A team that would only look forward knowing each day we were given was a gift and should be treated as such. Of course, we would forget, especially when it would take 3 hours just to get my mom out of bed and dressed. She’d be cursing her legs, while I’d be cursing at how cold the house had to be to keep her tremors at bay. But even then, there was always a moment where we would stop and remember… we were still here, which meant we were still #winning.
Now, I could legitimize being a jerk because my life growing up was difficult, or I could choose to spread hugs, love and laughter. Don’t get me wrong, I can still be a total jerk sometimes, but I’d like to think I choose the latter most days. I will never forget my past, but I will not dwell in it or close off my heart so that there’s zero risk of me ever feeling pain again.
Life is full of broken pieces, but when looked at in the light, can shine rainbows. Most days, I go without seeing the rainbows or actively choosing a better outlook, but when that happens I remember it’s one day at a time. Just put one foot in front of the other and be thankful you’re here, because even if it’s painful, there will be rainbows around the bend.
Have a little faith #IdiotArmy. The story you want for yourself is waiting for you to bring your pen to it’s pages. Choose to make it a wonderful adventure. 💕