Good lord. I got a bit zealous and decided to tidy up my email account. I went back about six years. I found some old emails. Some old emails that made my face turn inside out in horror. An exchange between me and an old friend that pretty much destroyed our friendship - although with the clarity of hindsight, I realise that it was disintegrating a long time before that, that it probably hadn't been what I thought it was in the first place. Anyway, back to the matter in hand - GOOD GOD! I sounded like a mad thing created by a very mad scientist, bashed out by a double mad machine. I barely recognise me in the writing even as I can't fail to acknowledge the echo of Past Me. My caveat here is that while I feel bad (or "off the charts crazy fandango Chloë, what the holy shit did you say that for?!") about what I wrote, a real friend would perhaps have read the emails and thought "HOT DANG! Something be VERY wrong with my FRIEND, maybe I should help rather than compound the problem or cut her off completely" Alas this was not the case, but Now Me sees it wasn't their responsibility to do so, it would have been nice (or even decent of them) if they had but life's not black and white, is it? And my shit was crazy as fuck.
Reading the emails, however, did something very good for me. Something very good indeed. That person? The one who wrote those emails, emails that alternately bleated ball-aching apologies and then bit with a ferocity I can rarely muster these days? She no longer exists. Parts of her do, of course, but I am a very different person to the one I was six years ago. My thought processes, reactions, expectations and ideas about the world have been almost entirely overhauled. And, even as I've been rubbing off (don't be dirty) my sharp edges, working hard on controlling those elements of myself I find most troubling - not to mention eradicating the shocking bouts of apparent lunacy as evidenced in some of those emails - I didn't really notice it happening. I think I'd just been hoping it would happen, and in the waiting I'd missed the change. In the missing of it, I've been repeating patterns of behaviour out of what I can only think of as muscle memory. Ridiculous laziness that has no place in my life because I'M NOT THAT PERSON ANYMORE. Those things no longer fit me.
I'm not the needy lost soul that I was, adrift in a foreign country, frightened. I see flashes of her, but only flashes. It's a liberating thing, to see me as I was and how I am now. I just didn't realise it had happened. Now I've seen it, I want to laugh until I pee my pants. Don't worry, I won't. Today. I will say this, however - the sins of your past, the person you were, who people thought you were? None of these things have to govern either your today or tomorrow. They do not define you, they do not even represent you. Not unless you either want them to or you allow them to. You can be the best version of yourself, but the other versions of yourself? They shouldn't be discarded or forgotten, they're templates, foundations, you can't move on without them. Just don't let them become the Bell Jar.