The Moment When the Past Becomes the Past


Chantielle MacFarlane

For 18 months I’d been waiting. Biding my time until life shifted weight. During those days, I cried my tears, drowned my sorrows, and forgot my worth. I burned bridges and built walls, lost control and found my failings. I wandered and I wondered, anxiously anticipating the day when the waves of self-loathing would stop crashing against the shore of my heart.

I was waiting for that one moment; the instant when things would change and the past truly becomes the past.

It’s a quiet movement, a tiny bend in time hidden in the space between yesterday and today. It’s like the kindness of a friend, the potential in a first kiss, or the longing of a last dance; something so insignificant, it has the power to change your life. It’s hidden in a glance and slipped beneath a smile. That moment when your imperfections become perfect and your battles scars become badges of honour.

Sadly, that moment isn’t meant for you or me. It’s intentionally elusive. A puff of smoke on the wind; a single drop in the ocean.

It’s what we all look forward to, lust after, and long for. But, try as we might, we can never quite catch it. Instead of holding it in our arms and celebrating its arrival, it hurries past like a stranger on the street. Unacknowledged and unappreciated; an unrequited love just out of reach.

It’s a heartbreaking thought, knowing that you’ll never find yourself in that moment. Like a love letter with no signature, or a song with an unfinished refrain; you’re left wondering what it would have felt like, what you would have felt like, the instant things were finally ok.

Moving forward is a slow process, one that’s filled with subtle victories. Lesser experiences that, when combined, soothe the sting, soften the blow, and smooth the edges. As much as you want to, need to, comprehend the healing, it’s foolish to expect that you’ll ever really understand. Your job is simply to live whatever life your mended heart can.

Because in the space before the moment, the hours before the understanding, that’s when you change.

You can’t be whole until you’ve found your holes. Until you’ve fallen from grace and lost your way, you can’t see what’s standing right in front of you. Instead, you overlook the little details, ignore the kindest words. You hurt the ones you love, and fall in love with your hurt.

Stephen Chbosky said “We accept the love we think we deserve”; only then can we mend and make peace with the past. Your bad decisions can never be undone; you can never unsay the hurtful words, or erase your worst memories. Just know that your mistakes are what make you, not what break you.

To those of you who are waiting for your moment, searching for the silence of self-acceptance, this is a gentle reminder to be kinder to yourself. Calm the voice in your head that refuses to let you heal. Your moment is coming.

The beautiful part is that you don’t know it now, and you won’t know it then.

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