I was supposed to an antidote to the past. I was born to help my parents forget their unhappy childhoods. My happiness would drown out their sorrow. I was like a bottle of white-out, meant only to erase.
I wouldn’t be limited by anything. Not by gender, as my grandmother had been. Not by divorce, as my mother had been. Not by wealth and status, as my father had been. I was supposed to have all the advantages and opportunities they so desperately wanted for their past selves. I would achieve everything they never had, without the hurt and struggle dominating their lives.
I was supposed to be a blank page. But how could I be a blank page, when I had already been drenched with their tears? I was not the angel they hoped for, but a reincarnation of their own demons.
The past, and the pain that comes from the past, is a sickness. It’s an insidious, deadly sickness. It’s stronger than a virus, or a bacteria; it can’t be cured by a vaccine or a dose of antibiotics. It’s a cancer. It grows from you, and stays with you. It has a way of mutating, so just when you think you’ve beaten your past, it comes back, stronger than ever. It follows you, generation to generation, no matter how hard you try to convince yourself it’s gone.
There is no cure. How could there be? The pain is burned into your brain, threaded through all your memories, even swimming through your blood and sinews. It’s there, and it’ll always be there. You’ve built your life around the omnipresent fear, the “never again” that pulses through you like an electrical current. At some point, your trauma ceased to be a part of you and become the entirety of who you are. Even if you don’t recognize it, it’s central to every decision. Behind every motivation.
But a garden doesn’t have to be flawless to be perfect. The grasping stems of weeds don’t diminish the perfect beauty of a rose. It’s only when those weeds begin to drown out the roses, when the sunlight meant for the flowers goes to the intruders- that’s when you start to die.
The past isn’t important. It shouldn’t be. If you spend your whole life crying over your gnarled roots, you’ll never see the strength of all your branches. You’ll never see the way you stretch up to the sky.
So, please, look up.