A friend of mine asked me and my husband to be in his new TV show. The premise is crimes you can admit to after the statute of limitations is over.
I have to be honest here.... a plethora of possibilities from my past, foster care and, we'll call them, "experimental years" came rushing to the surface.
I would relay ideas to him as they came up. He kept reminding me, "This will be on TV."
The comment made me realize how much I was sharing with him. These stories I thought I would never tell. Noticing I was now ok with admitting them... even potentially to the world.
That has to be growth, right? Or severe naiveté ?
I don't know... jury's still out.
But what I can say is, I got to really see where I have been, what I have done and where I am now.
I got to see the difference.
Not that I ever did anything REALLY crazy... no innocent people were ever harmed or anything. But I definitely have done some stupid shit. Knuckle head stuff, you know what I mean? Desperate times call for desperate measures... like when you're a kid with no means to money, no home, no food... you do what you have to do to get those necessities. I liked to call it "borrowing" back then. I only took food. I even kept a list of all the food I took. Whether it be a piece of fruit, cheese, soda, beef jerky... you get the idea.
I used to carry the list in my pocket to one day repay or replace... I also carried a shame of my reality. An embarrassment. I used to only see my differences.
Now, I have a different view.
Although I have carried a regret or shame, I also see how much I learned from each and every mistake I've made. How failure is sometimes just as educational, if not more, than success. How those choices gave me an experience, and a remorse at times, that I would other wise never have. But one I took a lesson from every time. Lessons that have paved a road of what to do as well as what not to. A road that has led me to where I am.
I have a compassion for that little girl who fought her way. Who somehow believed in a seed planted within her that even if she didn't feel like she mattered, she one day would.
Rehashing those stories took me back to the past but also gave me the opportunity to reflect on how much my circumstance has changed. How I no longer relate to that little girl who was so desperate at one time. But I still carry her with me. Remembering how she felt, how she navigated through, how she made it out.
I forgive myself for the things I had to do to get me here. I also see they were the things I had to do to survive.
So, we went to my friend's studio. We acted out a story. We had a blast. I got to realize none of that world is a part of my life anymore. It was now pretend... a past that used to hold shame morphed into art. Into humor. Into fun. Reframing it all somehow in the process.
My past is a composition of stories and situations I have lived through. Lessons I have learned from. But I am not defined by these things. Nor am I defined by what I have done.
I walked out of the studio and back into my present. To drive to pick up my son from his elementary school. Whose class I am a room mom. Where they trust me to volunteer for yard duty at lunch and before school when I can. To take him to soccer where I referee for his soccer games. My life now with a family I created. A life that will never be without the necessities or without love.
Through those years, I kept going. I knew how to always find a way. I know I always can because I have the lessons that little girl I carry taught me.
This week, I got to realize that my past life is exactly that... the past. The statute of limitations is over. Nothing from that part of my life can hurt me.
I have made many mistakes, I even have committed some crimes... Shhhh. But the proper amount of time has passed. I am free. Now freely admitting my truths. Releasing the shackles of regret, shame and embarrassment I once carried. I am proud of that little girl. I am also proud of the woman and mother I have become. Hopefully teaching my son to never make the same mistakes I did... but knowing he will make his own. My job to remind him the importance of those lessons. To carry them. To learn from them. To teach him they serve a purpose, they pave a road, for what he will become. But to also remind him to always keep going.
Until next week....