I've made a new friend over the past few months... a sort of serendipitous find where I think we were both something that the other person needed. I am enjoying the friendship -- and we're in the stage of getting to know each other where you slowly tell each other all of your stories.
I like this part of getting to know someone. Perhaps it is simply the lover of story in me. But I always feel a bit like it's our stories, and how we tell them, that make up who we are and help us to know each other and explain why we think the things we do, feel the things we do, say the things we do.
I'd told her a story about my past... something that, when it happened, had been a source of acute hurt, embarrassment, and inferiority. But something that had done a lot to guide the way I felt about certain things, shaped the things I believed, even formed some of my resentments.
And even though it was something that happened four years ago, the whole thing came flooding back as I told it and as we talked about it. Every wince. Every slap in the face. Every drop of anger. Every bit of "less than."
My heart beat fast. My blood pumped itself to everywhere. I breathed too quickly. Tears threatened to fall.
And it was strange to me that something that happened so long ago could still be felt so acutely.
But, it was felt differently, too. Where, in the beginning, I rushed to apologize for things that weren't really mine to apologize for... now, I accepted what happened, but also acknowledged the beliefs and the actions that were wrong. I gave myself permission to be angry and hurt without judging myself for it. And asserted that not everything that someone else believes about me is necessarily true. I get to choose that.