I was having a chat with my friend J the other day, telling him about a time when I really, really hurt someone I cared about. It’s been about 13 years since it happened and though we have long since made amends, he now lives (happily married) in California, every now and then I think about what happened. Every now and then, I knock salt into the wound. But as J reminded me, I’m not the same person as I was then… and the choices I made then aren’t ones I’d make now.
And he’s right. I am a different person, and I wouldn’t make those choices again. So, why is it that I still can’t fully completely shake off the guilt? As I get older, I know I have to let these proverbial weights off my shoulders. It’s not worth carrying. I walked for a bit after work, along a street we once strolled that Christmas everything went belly up; and as I walked, as sometimes happens, I got these flashbacks of us standing here and talking there.
What happened, you ask? A valid question. Well… when I met this guy, I was feeling amazing at having my first short film in a NYC film festival AND I was on a high that came with the insane mood swings I had become used with being on the birth control pill. So when he met me, yes, I was INCREDIBLY attracted to him and I thought he was just the coolest cat. But I knew something was wrong with me, just couldn’t put my finger on it. And then days later, “Aunt Flow” came to visit and stayed for 30 days. THIRTY DAYS. It was the beginning of my body & mental health hitting a brick wall. I went from this bubbly, “let’s do ALL the things” gal (who he once called “New York Kelly”) to this mean, bitchy, quiet wet blanket (a.k.a “Toronto Kelly”).
I meet this amazing guy… he came to Toronto to visit me at Christmas… and then a trap door in the floor opened up. And while it was scary, in hindsight, it was absolutely necessary because I didn’t realize how sick those birth control pills were making me. I just felt awful that I had to take this guy out in the process. He meet and falls for one version of me, and then my evil twin popped up and hijacked what was happening.
Why does that happen? Why is that life is humming along nicely and then BLAMMO, surprise shit storm!
I hurt this kind soul because I just SHUT DOWN. I didn’t want to be touched, bothered… my anxiety hit 100%… I was needing to get all things done quickly and now... I cringe thinking about it all these years later. He whispered in my ear as we parted at the airport that Christmas “You made me feel like I wasn’t wanted”. And he was right, because I was the worst version of myself I’d ever seen. But had that not happened, I’d have continued on- convinced I didn’t have just anxiety & panic attacks and that I was getting worse and would need more treatment. My mental health fell apart that Christmas. But it was the best gift I could have received.
I needed to hit rock bottom, so to speak. I needed ALL of that to happen in order to turn a corner. It took a lot of time to get that birth control pill out of my system, it took even more time to eventually rid myself of the medicines I took to ease my anxiety & panic. I live my days now with meditation in my back pocket when I need to centre and calm down. I believe I am more empathetic and mindful now than I ever have been.
I can’t go back and changed what happened, how I handled that new relationship… but I can look back at it with gratitude. We made amends, as I said… forgiveness was given… and ultimately, it made me a better person.