I cleaned my closets the other day. It was a semi-religious experience for me.
Among other things, I found an aardvark hoodie (awesome), a bunch of plastic light sabers that I never use anymore (awesome), and some old army fatigues (semi-awesome).
I also found an old box of memories that was…not so awesome. Just touching it brought back pain–I remember how I felt during that time, and how I would never want to put that pain on anyone. I took everything out, examined the content (even manhandled them a bit in hopes of a tiny revenge) and when I could stand it no longer I shoved everything back in and pushed the box to the furthest reaches of my closet, where I’ll never have to look at it again.
I thought about doing it, but I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away. There are parts of your past that you certainly don’t want to relieve, but that part of you wants to remember so you don’t make the same mistakes. You can’t escape the past no matter how hard you try, because if you’re not looking back the past becomes the future. You can look back, and see your pain, as long as you don’t let it consume you. Let it guide you and make you stronger. After all, the past is old business; unless we let it, it can’t get in our inside crevices and rip us apart. We keep it in the box and examine it from afar, becoming scientists of our old wounds. We can look, but as long as we don’t touch and let the bitter things become part of our lives again, we learn from it.