The Past Informs the Present

It’s amazingly difficult to not let what happened in the past interfere with today. I am trying, though, and trying hard.

Family issues, past relationship struggles, mistakes made and lost chances. They all swirl like a tornado in the backdrop of a life, and it is up to the person not to get distracted with all those messay, already-done details.

So now, as I stand on the brink of a new life with the man I always hoped to find, little tidbits from the past sneak their way before my eyes. The other day, for example, I took my daughter on a date. We did mother-daughter yoga, then ducked into a sushi restaurant for a mid-afternoon snack.

Dan was home with my boys and his daughter, and he knew we were out for some special mother-daughter bonding.  We hadn’t set firm start or end times, so I didn’t check in with him. But in the back of my head, I kept hearing a nervous voice, worrying about him turning angry when I arrived home “later” than he had anticipated. I pictured him flying out the door to do his own thing. I feared a torrent.

But none of that is Dan! Our relationship is a smooth ride – when we have misunderstandings, we work them out. We really don’t get angry at one another – even frustrations work their way toward resolution quite easily. We are both stubborn, but we are so eager to apologize, to hug, to make sure the other is feeling loved.

Those worries and fears lurking inside me were residual from my first marriage. Wow. I hadn’t thought that relationship was in any way abusive – certainly not physically! But cowering in fear of the other person’s reaction suggests emotional abuse and control, and suddenly clear as the slate sky above me, I saw more than simple unhappiness. I saw true dysfunction that apparently I have yet to resolve.

I am a strong woman! How could I let myself fall under the spell of controlling men? I see it time and again in the work I do, landmines to side step, well-meaning entrepreneurs letting their emotions drive the boat. It’s clear now that these personalities keep coming into my life so that I can respond to them astutely, finally!

The past informs the present – but we can’t let it dictate the future. The past should be a true shadow, images outlining  ideas once believed, but fading into the pavement as we walk away.

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