History repeats itself. It absolutely does, over and over again – if you let it. At 46, I can look back on my life with (I hope) a certain amount of perspective. And with that perspective, I can make choices that (again, I hope) will keep the worst of my history from repeating itself. I can alter my own fate.
My parents split up when I was young, so my father was gone, and my mother, while physically there was not really there. She was very involved in her own well-being, and made it very clear that her life was the priority, and everyone else was in a distant second place. In other words – it was the 70’s. She flaunted her entitlement and behaved accordingly. I was just a kid, so naturally I didn’t know any other way. I learned tricks, though, to get on her radar, and make her pay attention to me. Manipulations, tactics: these were things that I carried into my adult life that, in the end, did not serve me well. Some of those tricks damn near killed me later on in life.
My father’s absence left a mark, too. I am married to a perfect, reliable, and available man, but for many years I dated the exact opposite kind of guy. I experienced unavailable men, over and over again, and I had no idea why. Sure, hilarious stories came out of those “collisions,” but the reality is, I was in pain a lot of the time. Those are just a few of the behaviors I inherited from my mother and father. I have a list as long as my arm (and I have long arms.)
It's 100% changeable. Some of (most of) my mother’s bad behavior and my father’s absence is so ingrained in me, that I have to “think” my way into correct actions, otherwise I can catch myself justifying some pretty selfish choices. I am definitely selfish. I didn’t do all that thinking and self-reflection alone. I have been in therapy. I have done groups, I have meditated and sought out spiritual answers. I have tried every kind of punishing workout you can imagine. Less helpfully, I drank heavily, lived hard, and abused myself in order to get to the bottom of the pain. I do not recommend the latter. It’s a tough way to go and, in the end, just becomes another problem. However, any kind of soul-searching, whether it be through a bottle or a yoga retreat, can be useful, in my opinion. If you’re looking for answers, keep asking questions. It’s not important how you ask, just that you do. I’m just saying some ways are less hard on your body than others.
I do not believe that we are doomed to repeat history. Yes, we’re human and we make mistakes. We get off track, and lose the plot sometimes, but I am an optimist (I must be one, since I have my own business.) Just because mistakes are inevitable, that doesn’t mean we’re trapped by them. We all have a map - one that can show us the way out of anywhere. We can either look at it, and make our decisions wisely, or we can fold it up, stick it in the glove compartment, and hope like hell that our sense of direction is good.
It’s a choice – and we get a chance to make it every morning when we wake up.
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