Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ancient History

I’m on a bumpy flight back from New York. I’ve been half thinking about what the topic of the next post will be while watching Hell’s Kitchen, Real Housewives of Atlanta and Flipping Out. It’s time to return to my own reality after a very nice break, and I think four nonstop hours is my limit of fake-reality TV for one day. I’m trying to think of a topic related to my trip but haven’t figured it out yet.

I usually feel something like obsession when a new topic occurs to me. I could be in class, in the car or on the phone and there will be a steady stream of thoughts that I HAVE to scribble down on random scraps of paper in order to focus on anything else. But I’m not there right now. Maybe my four-day walking tour of the city healed my navel-gazing blog affliction. Maybe if I just got a little more exercise, my family wouldn’t have to worry about what I might be revealing next to anyone who cares to read it, and Bindy would stop pressuring me to write about her (when will it ever be enough?).

There is something annoying that’s come to mind a few times since yesterday. It involves ancient high school-ish history. I don’t know if I can write about it in any comprehensible way since there will be no details. The main idea is I did something I’m ashamed of when I was just out of high school. I guess you could say a few things.

At my high school reunion in July, an ex-schoolmate made a comment referencing an incident that could be described as my personal rock bottom, capping off a little bit of self-destructive behavior when I was a teenager. At the time, I batted the comment away like the unwelcome pest that it was. But yesterday, the comment came up in a conversation with my friend BT and I have to admit it really did get to me.

I thought I had already dealt with the issue. Shortly after the low point occurred, when I was 18 or 19, I asked my parents if I could see a counselor. I went for a few sessions before realizing that the counselor really couldn’t help me. It was something I had to deal with on my own. Step One was to stop the self-destructive behavior. I know, no duh. But to do so meant I had to break through the numbness that lead to the problem in the first place. I needed to take responsibility for what I did and understand why. What helped me the most was working with some of the girls at the alternative school who engaged in similar behavior. I could see so clearly what they were doing. I totally got it and forgave myself.

There is one group of ex-schoolmates who might remember me for a snapshot or two of something stupid I did as a teenager. But I wasn’t the only person involved. The person who made the comment at the reunion had some responsibility, even though I took most of the heat at the time. I have zero interest in how he views his own behavior or why he did it. His juvenile comment indicated he hasn’t yet humbled himself enough to take ownership. But there was one last piece that hadn’t occurred to me. The last thing I needed to do was this: I forgive him.

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