Tag Archives: identity

Are we really chained to our past?

There is a me that used to exist.  I can access her thoughts and feelings.  I can remember things she said and did.  What I can’t do is feel her influence in my choices any longer.  I’ve been mulling this post since June 2012, when over dinner with a friend, I proclaimed that I was not affected by the things that happened to me in my past.  What I meant? I have experienced some things that perhaps others would use to define themselves throughout their lifetime, but that I no longer think about, or consider relative to my present day identity.

The years I spent claiming her as my identity were many.  Viewing each new thing that happened to me through the lens of her experience was common. However, with the passing  years I used her lens less. 

Today I can explain to you why I saw things the way I did.  I can show you how my past self influenced many of my choices for good and for bad, but what I can’t do is say any of my current life decisions manifest from those actual events. They may manifest from values formed or personality traits honed in the years following said experiences, but not from the actual experiences in anyway.

 I understand when people say we are shaped by our past. The experiences of my 15 year-old self and the struggles for me to find meaning in what I went through and how I moved on and learned from them have changed me, but I am who I am in this present existence.  My body is made from completely new cells than the cells that made her body.  She only exists in the synaptic connections forged in my brain. 

I am no longer that person, nor do I wish to be. I can look at her objectively.  I can see her fears. I can feel compassion for her pain and understanding for all of her rash choices and mistakes, but I am done owning her mistakes.  There is no part of me beyond a memory that would think, act, or feel the same way that I did at that age or the years following. 

Some would say it’s delusional to think that I am a different person, but I wholeheartedly  believe people change everyday and choose who they are. I no longer look at her story and use it to explain why I do things or how I feel in the present.  It can explain some of my past, but the story stopped resonating for me long ago. I choose to be the woman I am today knowing that the woman I will be tomorrow may or may not use the lens of my current self in the future. And I feel free and really good with that.