Last weekend, I spent some time away from the city and in the wilderness with my two gal pals. Truth be told, I have a love-hate relationship with city life. On one hand, I love and crave the energy that the buzz of a city brings, while a big part of me is easily overwhelmed by too much of it. As a sensitive soul, I constantly read that nature is where I should be dwelling in my free time. Some of my fondest memories overseas were just of me walking through green paths and being surrounded by trees and not much else. Nature has the ability to provide in abundance by doing very little, whilst big cities even small ones like Brisbane, are often demanding and draining.After a big climb up Mt Warning that left our legs shaking, we retreated to Pinnacle Eco Retreat, where we spent the night cooking, drinking wine and roasting marshmallows. Knowing it would be a full moon that night and that there would be a fire on hand, I decided to perform a little cleansing ritual. I wrote down a list of everything in all of my existence that I wished to forgive myself for. I told the girls it was a long list, but it wasn’t until I unraveled my literal scroll of writing that they realised just how big it was. It contained everything from my regrets in life, love and all the ways in which I have chosen to dwell over the past six years. Throwing it in the fire should have been a therapeutic moment, except like a true millennial I spent the time I should have been reflecting, trying to capture it with my camera. Maybe it’s why that even after my paper turned to a pile of ash, I still felt those regrets heavily.
Truthfully, I wake up feeling regretful most days. I wake up with a pang in my heart, only masked by the hopeful optimism that a new day brings. I want things to be different, I truly do and yet the weight of my decisions continue to stop me from making new ones. In my naivety, I think I assumed that just by burning a piece of paper every moment that preceded it would somehow be gone. Life doesn’t work like that though. You can create a new life, move to a new city, change your job and even get another lover, but your past will always be there. Even in the midst of all the change you create, the old you will still present in your current reality.
In my fear of dwelling and remaining the person that I was, I have continued to remain the person that I was. What I recognise in that though, is that the desire to move forward in the future isn’t as strong as the desire of my former-self to remain a victim defeated by the past. I can hardly feel bad about it though, because I know that part of me is so deeply engrained that all I know is this cycle of sabotage. I can continue to try and change my external surroundings, to try and write a list of forgiveness but what I need to do more than anything is to welcome my regrets with open arms.
To forgive myself for all of things that I’ve done ‘wrong’, implies that I have done a lot of wrong doing. On the contrary, I see that the choices I’ve made have just been a reflection of past fear projecting into the future. Instead of cowering to it, it has become to apparent that I must accept that I am every part of the narrative that is my life. I am not better than my past, I am not stronger in my future and I am not complete in my present. All that I know is that I just am what I am.
So I write this not to release myself from the vice of some bad history, I write this to just reflect on everything that has gotten me to this point. I don’t forgive myself for anything, instead I say thank you for it.
Thank you 2011- for perfectionism, diets and a certain same initialed soul-mate.
Thank you 2012- for therapy sessions, retail work and a delayed bachelor degree.
Thank you 2013- for uncertainty, cutting a fringe and a new career in hospitality.
Thank you 2014- for a refunded plane ticket, Tinder and failed online exercise guides.
Thank you 2015- for lost loves, excess spending and returning home on a whim.
Thank you year 2016 for inaction, indecision, emotional eating, self-sabotaging, excessive complaining and for not following through with plans. The cool thing is, you aren’t over yet and I’m truly grateful that I get to spend the rest of the year allowing myself to be all that I am.