color key — red: abuse; green: relationship to self; purple: spirituality. contrast of light and dark correlates with bright and somber tones of voice.





Time is an interesting concept. In the moments that collide with one another giving birth to our reality, it all feels so absolute. The idea of ever getting past those intense emotions that make up our stories seems entirely impossible, however, six months always disappear so quickly, making those feelings obsolete. How smells, or songs, can wash us away in nostalgia and take us back to what we can make ourselves believe were a better time.

I have had to learn recently that time, although it heals wounds, it can be my only resource; it can be my friend. There are times when things combust and become giant clouds of confusion and disdain, and it can feel as if nothing can ever change. Yet, time is what makes us believe things will. It amazes me when I read through old posts of mine, how in those moments, I knew in my heart things I don't recognize today. Identities change, and no identity of who I used to be can ever actually be used to demonize the woman I am. Becoming who one is meant to be is a process none of us really understand. We pass judgement onto others as if those identities are concrete, but they aren't. It is incredibly unfair to hold the hundred different masks we accumulate against us; nothing but the person you are right now is the truth.

Memories fade, and details become foggy. Our own versions of every story, including the dozens of different perspectives that can be taken into those stories, can never be trusted. The concept known as 'Embracing the Now' is something that, in high school, I read books about and internalized, yet never really understood, but have taken an entirely new meaning for me as I have grown into adulthood. Eckhart Tolle's book, "The Power of Now," was my bible in my late adolescence and I swear, I believed then that I had it figured out. I thought I knew who I was and where I was going. However, when I began college and fell into the horrible world of drug abuse and the distortion of time that it brings, the concept of being one with the moment became a distant memory.

I never felt more unlike myself. The endless attempts at sobriety, the endless fails, clawed at my idea of who I was every time. the strong willed girl I was raised to be was being broken by things that I had let into my own life. No one was to blame for anything I was doing, but in those moments where the Now doesn't exist, it is incredibly easy to blame others. When my heart was broken over and over again because of what and who I let in, I never wanted to look in the mirror and say “This one is on you…” Nope, it never happened. Instead, I would just continue my drug use and careless habits as if they were not translating into the bleak emotions that encompassed my life.

Literally, two years were lost to me. It is as if those years are just a blur of drinking and smoking and stupid sex with stupid people who never deserved to ever be that close to me, that when I came out, my concept of time was actually warped. Where had 2018 gone? I had gained thirty pounds and some family ties completely destroyed. My path had taken me down into a forrest of mayhem that obscured everything outside of my line of vision, and I didn't look around that much. I never cared who I hurt, left behind, because I didn't feel like I needed to be held accountable for anything I did. I was an 'adult' when really, I was just immature and self-absorbed.

As I have begun the process of rebuilding my self-identity, it really feels like a rebirth. I am rediscovering all of the things that made me happy all along, and remembering how whole I was before I thought I wasn't. Drugs take you, and they don't let go until you either choose to let them go, or you have no choice. I am blessed that I made it out of addiction to where I am now, because it is really incredible to feel in my soul that I am stronger in my self-worth than I have ever been in my entire life. I see people all around me who are just stuck in the constant drone of monotony and it makes me wonder what makes me different. Why was it such an imperative for me to get better, but for them it just is?

I don't believe that I am better than anyone, in fact, I let go of that wave of thinking a long time ago. We all have different things that make us unique, and those attributes do not result in anyone being better or worse than one another. My special skill would be the insane amount of time I spend in my head; my incessant compulsion to overthink every little thing that happens in my life. So, anxiety would be the one thing that I could attribute to this snap back into reality; the constant state of worrying that I was in all the time, about getting caught and going to jail or my family actually seeing me for what a piece of work that I was — it was terrifying. Getting better was just a byproduct of continuously hating myself and dreading about the what if's in life. Maybe my sense of what life could be if I never changed compared to what I knew my life should be is what saved me.

Now, I crave that sense of normality. Nothing is more important to me than my routine, my health and my relationship with my personal idea of God. I had to go through the things that I experienced in order to make me see that what I had been chasing to fill the voids that I felt I had were all just made up reasons for me to say I was a 'fucked up' individual. Sure, I have had some horrible things happen to me in my past but I spent so much time turning those traumas into who I thought I was, it was impossible for me to ever move on. I made them apart of my self identity, and that was one of the biggest mistakes I have ever made. When bad things happen, they are not supposed to be locked away in your heart to rot because in the end, the damage they result in are incredibly more disastrous than what they had originally inflicted.

That is the beautiful thing about time. This journey of my life has taken me down paths I never dreamed of, and has forced me to constantly reevaluate the person I always assume I am. Crazy part is, I am still not done blossoming into the beautiful sunflower I know in my heart I am. Time, while it seems so definite in each moment, gives us chance after chance to continuously grow into the incredible beings that each of us are meant to be. We can create different versions of who were are, because one version simply won't ever last. Every year, we are different. We are not tied down to our past mistakes, and we are never expected to stay the same.

© Midnight Woman 2021