Being home is interesting.
When I come home it’s as if the ghosts of my former selves haunt me everywhere I go. No space is safe. The ghosts are not evil or menacing, but they are, at times, foreboding. I know the ghosts and yet I am removed from their world. In my former lives I was more driven, a perfectionist---often reaching the level of neurotic on a regular basis. I didn’t have a lot of friends. When a few good friends came into my life, they betrayed me and left me alone. Being alone hurt, but it was always safer to be alone. I was the strong one. The rock. The faithful one.
A perfect girl on the outside with a storm on the inside no one could see.
I built a complex for myself that, to this day, I am not sure exactly where it came from. I know in middle school I decided I wanted to be one of those cool, involved people, but my obsession with perfection and going above and beyond the standard has always been in me. I have had to learn how to tame and mold my perfectionism into something healthy and manageable. There really is truth in the statement that our greatest strengths can also be our greatest weaknesses.
I am living proof.
I went through boxes of my keepsake stuff a day or two ago, like I seem to do every time I come home. I used to keep everything in an effort to create the life I so desperately wanted to have. Papers, awards, stickers, plaques, t-shirts…they were all validation and proof of success.
I have learned that it's not what you do that defines you or gives you worth.
It's hard to go to my old home ward because there isn't anything left there for me. When I went off to college the youth fell away---among them, my closest friend, who threw everything away---not that that has anything to do with my leaving, but it is what happened. I don't like coming back. It's not my life anymore. The person who lived there, who lived my life, is just another ghost. A ghost I don't really care to visit.
The ghosts of my former selves are not bad things.
I don't hate my life or my former selves. I just know myself so much better than I used to know myself. I am the happiest I have ever been. Despite all of the unknowns in my life right now, I like who I am and where I'm going. So while the ghosts of my former selves continue to haunt me, I have ways to stay alive and well in the present.
You have to look back sometimes to really move forward.