I've blocked a lot of memories of my childhood. I am still relatively young and I can't remember so much. I have tendency to punish myself for my past indiscretions; never really forgiving. I will let someone walk all over me and forgive them time and again...but I harbor some pretty heavy ill will for my own past missteps.
The memories that I LOVE come back with smells or particular weather. When I was really little I had a swing in a willow tree in the backyard. I remember days where I would swing for hours singing to the top of my lungs. On windy sunny days this particular memory is triggered and when I hear my daughter in the backyard belting out a tune I think of that old swing. Whenever I make pot roast (yes, i make pot roast) I think of my mom and then I think of her mom, my grandmother. I am so thankful for those Sunday pot roasts and meals with my family and the hug that particular memory provides.
Facebook has rekindled some super old friendships. I just became friends with a girl that was my bestest friend...in the sixth grade. It brought back wonderful memories of young laughter and silly first sleepovers.
I've also become friends with some folks that I don't have exceptional memories of. Friends where we've lost contact...because I stopped keeping in touch. Friends where we stopped talking over silly arguments. Now it seems silly...ten years ago not so much. Some of these memories are so cathartic and good for the soul. It's nice to see that most people grow up, start families and become respectable members of society. I know many think that of me and possibly questioned whether I was capable of growing up.
Lately, I really enjoy visiting the past. I cannot change it. Most days I wish I could. I am more thankful, even when the trip down memory lane is painful, for the lessons I learned. I am thankful for the people in my life, past and present, who made me...me. Each moment, each conversation, each argument, each broken heart all formed who I am today. I could choose to harbor ill will or bitterness because, like I said, the past is a reminder of the old me...the often stupid me. Instead, I think I've decided to grow with it. To allow my past to mature my future.
Memory ghosts are only scary if we fear them. If we face them and accept them... the fear fades. I do wish I could warn my children that although facing the ghosts of past is inevitable; whether they are scary or not depends on the decisions we make now. We will all undoubtedly make bad decisions, but scary decisions become scary ghosts that often travel with us throughout our lives. This merits the minding that decisions today affect tomorrow.
Today, my ghosts don't seem quite so threatening as they did a year ago. I hope the ones that I'm making now will be more like warm sunny days or pot roasts rather than than the darkness lurching beneath the stairs ready to trip me up.