When I was in junior high school I had many crushes. The two that stick out the most are twins, Will and Dan. I’m a sucker for dimples and they both had them. I had spent equal time assessing the situation and passing them both neatly folded notes after class, but Dan took the lead in winning my heart – probably because I thought there was a good chance that he liked me back.
Come one March on St. Patrick’s Day, in our yellow locker lined hallway, Dan, bless his little heart, bought me a dyed green carnation and asked me if I’d go out with him. I, in the moment, was shocked. I couldn’t believe this was happening. Something I had wanted so badly was actually happening. I don’t know if I genuinely didn’t know what to say or if I wanted to play it cool, but I told him I had to think about it. I suppose I spent the day in the “do I or don’t I?” internal debate, and I remember anticipating the class where I could talk to one of my best friends, Jen. I told her that Dan had asked me out and that I didn’t know what to do. I am not sure why, but she said I couldn’t go out with him. I don’t remember the specifics, but I ended up telling him no.
A few weeks ago while sitting in my meditation, this story showed up again. It has a few times over the years even though I’ve already forgiven Jen, who is still a friend of mine, for being, as I recalled, the bitch who kept me from my first boyfriend. I’ve also come as far as realizing it had nothing to do with her and it was my way of playing the victim and placing the blame on her. But it wasn’t until this moment in my meditation that I wanted to take full responsibility for my actions and own what was true for me at that time so I could uncover what I was really hiding from. I realize now that I said no because I was scared of being seen (vulnerable and imperfect) and I didn’t think I was worthy.
I still cry at the thought of my middle school-aged self and all her insecurities. I see pictures of myself, surrounded by people I called my friends, some that are still my friends today, and I can see the pain of being so uncomfortable with myself on my face. Did everyone else see it too?
I am not sure how long I cried in my meditation, but it was a deep, cathartic cry that dug down to those parts of myself that haven’t had a voice and that I’ve kept quiet and numbed with food and alcohol for years. I’ve been inviting that little girl out lately and encouraging her to let me know what she needs, to share her truth and to cry if she needs to, to sing off-key (something I never wanted to do as a kid), knowing she is loved just the way she is, with all her seemed imperfections and is seen and is worthy. I believe this is how we can begin to heal those old wounds. I cried in that meditation tears of pain and anguish for not loving myself back then and not believing in myself and for letting someone else’s cockamamie value system run my personal narrative. I can’t believe I didn’t love myself for that long.
So does time heal old wounds? I know why this is coming up for me. I know it is the child-like self that is closest to our highest, truest, most authentic version of ourselves and it is this version of me that wants to heal as much as she wants to help others heal: to heal our self-induced suffering, the suffering of those in need, the personal suffering that is in such turmoil it gets inflicted onto others. It is not time that heals these wounds, but the stillness and inquiry into who we are where we can create the most significant, life-altering changes, healing our wounds and finding peace within ourselves.
“Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” – Jill Jackson Miller