My roommate, Libby, and I didn’t know each other until moving in together right before going into the same grad school program. Over the past several weeks, we’ve found funny things we have in common. Recently, we discovered that we both gave our exes the same exact gift (which we rarely spoke to anyone about because of the embarrassment), and laughed ’til we cried since we were both under the impression that no one else in the world had done that, or would understand.
We discussed more serious regrets we’ve had in past relationships and cringed together at choices we’ve made. Being in a therapy program has even more so made me reflect on my past and decisions I wish I could change. I refrain from getting into long conversations about the past, because sometimes my current self really hates parts of my old self. I lacked confidence, starved myself to be skinny, let guys mistreat me in relationships, rarely stood up for myself, didn’t know how to communicate in a healthy way, allowed people-pleasing to be my main motivation, and worried a lot about things out of my control.
Not only do we talk about our past in therapy, but we talk more about how that past has shaped our experiences and influenced who we are. It’s true that if you asked me who I am, I’d probably tell you a lot about who I’ve been. I can’t get anyone to understand the magnitude of how proud I am of my current self without revealing where I started. I could tell you that now I eat McDonald’s fries all the time and have brownies for breakfast, I feel like I have the confidence of a Victoria Secret runway model and really don’t care for the gym, I’m straightforward, honest, and I do not make decisions out of fear. But… none of that would make sense or mean anything unless you read the stuff above, the stuff I regret, the stuff I hate about the old Claire.
Every time I get caught up in my regrets, I try to tell myself this: Don’t hate the experiences that shaped you. Without who I’ve been, I wouldn’t be who I am. And I’m proud of that person.
With honest love,