Thursday, November 1, 2012

We Live, We Learn, We Leave the Past in the Past or in Dreams and Fiction

I really am a basket-case. Now, unlike Ally Sheedy in my favorite movie The Breakfast Club, I am not eating a sandwich of Captain Crunch and pixy sticks or shaking my dandruff over a painting to create the effect layered snow. No, I am an emotional basket-case. One minute life is beyond alright, everything is going my way, the sun is shining, all those wonderful, happy, often yawn-inducing things. It only takes one event or one dream or one flashback to the past to sending me reeling off my stable axis. While I have just become aware that I am describing some symptoms of bipolar disorder, I assure you it's not that. I have been an overly emotional person since I was younger- reliving guilt over and over again over a stupid mistake made in childhood, replaying a fight between friends in my head while wishing I could have stopped the words that came rushing out of my mouth, pressing the rewind button as I will myself to get up off the floor and not react so embarrassingly to a boy breaking my heart.
Why am I like this when so many people can seem so unfeeling? I mean, while I'd rather be emotional than dead inside, it can be an extremely annoying condition with which to live. One instance from one dream the other night had me replaying the past over and over in my head all day long. It's the past, it's gone for a reason; however, when it is brought back to light, I have the hardest time shaking it. I can't shed the feeling that things could have been different, that I could have tried harder, that I could have made a significant change. I know this to be untrue because when I was living in the moment, I tried as hard as I could without crossing the line and being downright rude. I often have to pull myself out of the reverie of remembering one person's touch, now a stranger's touch, and ground myself in the present, realize all that I have in front of me. My past never seems to go away, and it has an unwelcome way of rearing its ugly head at the most inconvenient of times.
It leads me to wonder if we ever really shed the skin of our past lives. Maybe the past remains hidden in the back of our minds only to reappear when our guard is down, when sleep takes over our fragile bodies, when we're vulnerable. As scary as that is to think about, I think it may be true. We don't live in the world of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind where memories can be erased and written over like cassette tapes, where people whose influences have become ingrained in our mind are no longer relevant. Where would we be if we forgot all the experiences of the past? We'd be stuck making the same mistakes over and over again. We'd learn nothing. So while my mistakes and past people of influence may haunt my dreams, at least they stay there now. I no longer have to live with them because I've learned, and now I know better. 

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