Ghosts of The Past

I went home over this past weekend, and a few things happen when I go home.

  1. I eat way too much.
  2. I somehow manage to pick apart my already-bare closet and leave a tornado of evidence.
  3. I always go through my old things, even though I know this is a danger zone to proceed with caution only.

And yet, I never take mind of my own warning as I frivolously flip through old notes, pictures, letters, and every other old memory that I keep tucked away in a shoebox and out of mind. These shoeboxes used to be my own personal storage system, because writers tend to collect things. However, these very things always end up bringing me a lot of heartache.

I won’t go into detail about my old belongings, because that doesn’t matter to the point I’m trying to make. What’s inside these boxes are memories of a time when the person I was kind of… sucked, for lack of a better term.

The pictures from this time were too posed, too forced, too pretend. The notes and letters from people I thought would still be in my life (and reading my blog) are too hollow, too insincere. But how was I supposed to know any better? I still gave my heart and passion to these people and who they wanted me to be. I surrounded myself with toxicity, and this time of my life reflected that.

Looking through the boxes, I see warning flag after warning flag about the disasters that were sure to come. If I had one wish, I would like to warn fourteen year-old Maddie about every person who would betray her, every relationship that would hurt her, and every situation that would jeopardize the promises of her future.

And yet, knowing what I do today, I wouldn’t have given any advice other than: “It gets better”. What I thought was my entire world as a young teenager is so insignificant to the woman I am today.

Fourteen vs Eighteen. Before I am ridiculed, the picture on the left was taken on “American Spirit” day of homecoming week. I don’t know why I was wearing a Coca-Cola shirt. I don’t drink soda. This just adds to how confused I must have been at this time of my life.

Back then, I thought I knew what love was from the petty acts of lust boys threw my way. Today, I am in love with a man I call my best friend, a man who encourages, supports, and adores me, a man who helps me handle the bad days and cherish the good.

Back then, I fought with my parents and refused to take advice. Today, I call my mom about four times a day, and can’t figure any difficult college worksheet without the help of my dad. 

Back then, I wore what everyone else thought was in style. My makeup and hair were horrendous, because no one ever told me otherwise (to my face, that is). Today, I am confident and poised in whatever outfit I choose. My looks don’t define how I behave.

Back then, I dedicated every concern to what my friends thought or what they were doing. These friends aren’t in my life anymore, and haven’t been for over four years. Today, I can count my number of friends on one hand, solely because I don’t surround myself with anyone less than the best.

These wounds are still fresh, and looking through my old boxes stung like salt in an eye. And yet, I find myself opening the dusty lid anyways, because sometimes it’s a humble reminder that no matter the amount of suffering, this too shall pass.

I am no longer haunted by the ghosts of my past, rather just trying to shoo them on their way to make room for what’s to come. 

Yours Honestly,

Madeleine Rheinheimer

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