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It can eat you up inside.

I try not to let the past steal my joy, to drive my focus, but there are times when it slowly creeps in and engulfs me completely. I can feel it settle in the pit of my stomach, making me feel numb inside. It causes me to disconnect from my friends, to feel separate from others. It causes me anger, because I don’t want it to be in the way of my time with my children. It causes me guilt for burdening my husband with my thoughts and feelings. It is hard sometimes to make it just ‘go away’.

This is the battle with anxiety and depression. It is a constant balancing act of accepting the past and why I am the way I am, but not allowing it to overtake me. I try to filter in the memories bit by bit and make sense of them. I try to find reason where none can be found. The truth of the matter is in this life others will hurt you. In this life is suffering. And sense cannot be made of it. It is far from fair. But that is life.

There are times where I imagine I can go back and save myself with the knowledge I have now. I want to go back and save the timid girl who thinks she needs to obey her step-dad even though it feels wrong. I want to confront him and tell him what a betrayal it is. I want to confront everyone else who acted like it was not a big deal, those who lied and made up stories, those who would rather pretend it never happened.

I want to confront those who passed me around as if I were a commodity. Never feeling like you have a place, not knowing who loves you and who just wants to keep you away from the other person. I detached from my mother because she was not there and missing her was too painful. I learned rather painfully that everything my mother told me about my biological father was true. He was an abusive alcoholic.

At times I want to go back and tell my teenage self that the love and attention of a boy is not the summation of your worth. You do not have to give in to what he wants. You do not have to let him control you. You do not have to believe him when he says you are ‘crazy’ and ‘irrational’. You do not have to stay.

Bitterness. I suppose it is the frustration of not being able to change the past and what hurt you. It is the frustration of being young. Afraid. Naive. Passive. Weak.

But as always, I cannot reside in my bitterness for long. I have to focus on the positive. I cannot regret my life or the events that happened because they shaped who I am today. I am strong. I recognize both the good and bad in the world, so I may be a little cynical, but I still believe in Jesus and his ability to heal any wound.

My past has made me more reserved and I am slow to trust others, but it has also made me more empathetic to others, more observant and aware, more giving and loving. It has given me a fierce love for my children and a desire to protect them. I have a drive to continually heal and to be the best mother I can be for them. It is a journey I am taking day by day, and I suppose writing about it helps me feel a little less alone.

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