“The past is not dead. In fact, it’s not even passed.”- William Faulkner.
When I was twelve all the way to age fourteen, I was convinced I was going to be a judge on American Idol. Seriously, convinced. It was my dream, I was going to do it, simple as that. My mom reminded me today that I even made my dad make me a ‘stage’ for my birthday one year. My friends and I used to sit up chairs in my garage and make people come sing to us. I was determined to be the cute and young eighteen year old judge that everyone on the show would love. I was also going to marry Ryan Seacrest. Below is a picture of what I would have looked like taking over Paula’s position. Damn Kara got to it first.The past amazes me. Everything about it. There is so much contained in that little word; what we hold onto, what we let go of, the people we’ve said goodbye to, the dreams we have and haven’t accomplished, who we were, what we’ve done, what’s happened to make us into who we are now. But how much of the past is really the past? How much is really let go, and what all do we hold onto? Is the past ever really gone? Let’s discuss this.
So I turned 18. I wasn’t a judge on American Idol, believe it or not. I was a fresh out of private school girl about to get a rude awakening. I became a waitress, which I probably would tell every 18 year old fresh out of private school girl to stay the hell away from. This job and what I took away from it would be and probably will remain the most infamous part of my past. I learned a lot, I got myself in more trouble than anyone could have ever imagined, and I made myself a novel out of my own history. Though I definitely made some mistakes, I can’t say I regret anything that happened. What I went through in that long year, more than anything else, made me who I am today. And that’s what I guess I’m getting at. The past is a loaded word. Yes, It’s gone, but what it’s done to and for us will forever be a part of who we are now. We seek it out but at the same time wish it would go away. We block it out but can’t control when somewhere or somebody brings it back full force. Feelings may eventually leave, but the outcome of the feelings we felt linger on. The letters may have been burnt, the ink faded, the pages torn; but the words embedded in our heads. Friends and lovers may go, but the effect they had, good or bad, will take much longer if not a lifetime to simmer out. Decisions are made not always logically but on the hurt we’ve felt before, the people we’ve gone through, experiences we’ve never quite been able to shake. The memories may be a little blurry but the emotional impact of the memories will play out in our actions, will keep our hearts either open or a lot more closed. It’s our choice what we do with the mess the past has left behind, but like it or not, there is that mess. And once it’s finally cleaned up, the remnants will remain.
I think we kind of want it that way. If our life is a book, we want that option to turn back and look, read, linger, maybe even rip it out and keep that page in a special place. Human nature doesn’t like the past.We want the present, the future, we hold onto memories for the sake of not forgetting. We keep pictures, journals, love letters, fifth grade boyfriends around on social-networking sites all for the sake of holding onto a little piece of what has been left behind. The past does not ever really pass. It may grow smaller, it fades, it becomes a little dot in the vastness of our life…but it is not,as the word may insinuate, gone. It’s who we are,it’s what we look back to, & it’s all we will have left once we’re not here anymore.
As I am as much as a past-dweller as anyone else, I still look to that twelve year old girl sometimes to see where I’ve made it to today. In fact, I’ve carried those dreams she had with me through the years in one way or another. I never did reach stardom on my favorite reality show, nor did I marry Ryan Seacrest. ( I did not have to put my face in any hole for this one)
However, I think my younger self would still be proud. I am ,without the fame, the girl I was striving so hard to be at the time. Happy, loved by many (though not quite ALL of America), getting my point across in one way or another, and I guess I kind of ended up married too. I’ve let go of the little girl dreams and I found myself a real man, but I still remember what it felt like to be so young and to want something, silly as it may be, so much. I think twelve year old Christina would definitely approve though. Boudreaux is a a stronger last name than Seacrest anyway.