Festering nostalgia kills friendships

It has been brought to my attention that I dwell on the past too much. This is, without a doubt, true. I don’t exactly mean to do it. Or at least I don’t make a conscious effort to do it. Yet all too often I find myself strolling down memory lane thinking about “what could have been.”

 

I know we all do it to some extent, but I worry I might do it more than other people. I find myself drifting off to conversations I had five years ago and trying to rewrite the script in my head so that if I ever have a similar conversation (read argument) with that same person again in the future, I’ll know exactly what to say this time. Never mind the fact that the chances of this actually happening are probably slim to none.

 

I have a foot locker full of my past. Old yearbooks, photo albums, diaries, report cards, poetry books (ye gads!) and small trinkets litter it. Most of the things are fairly benign. I mean, how much harm can my high school report cards cause? But the diaries get me in nostalgic trouble all the time. There is some force that compels me to open them once every year or two. For the most part they are filled with the inane ramblings of a geeky 12-19 year-old. Who called me, what teacher annoyed me, the new outfit I got or concert I went to*. Unfortunately, they are also filled with page after page of somebody done me wrong stories followed by even more musing as to what I did to deserve said wrong (generally being fat and geeky). It’s those pages that get me in trouble. All the old wounds start opening and festering a little. Suddenly people I’ve forgotten about or who I’m on fairly good terms with, become mortal enemies again. All I can remember is the hurtful thing they said or did to me during chemistry class. Which in turn, creates that little chip on my shoulder and eventually leads to the grudge I am so good at carrying around with me.

 

That’s where I find myself right now. I’m trying to start a friendship anew, as an adult this time, not a jaded teenager. The only problem is that I keep bringing up past slights. I wasn’t even aware I was doing it until it was pointed out to me and I went back and reread some of my messages. I know I have to stop, but these little passive aggressive messages keep turning up in whatever I write. My martyr complex kicks in on some subconscious level and I start playing the victim again. After a week in my Successful Teaching for Acceptance of Responsibility class, you’d think I could get it out of my system. After all, I’m rebuilding my curriculum in an attempt to make my students aware of the choices they make and learning how to own their actions and words.

 

But it seems I can’t stop living in the past. Or maybe I won’t stop living in the past. Or I don’t stop living in the past. No, I chose not to stop living in the past, and that is where the problem lies.** I realize only I can change this foible of mine, and I’m honestly trying. I just think it’s going to take some time and maybe the burning of my diaries.

 

*The only concerts I went to before college were Tiffany and New Kids on the Block…man, I was cool.

**A four part language exercise from my class. Meant to put responsibility where it truly lies.  

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3 Comments

Filed under addictions, life as a teacher, love, my childhood, my friends, nostalgia, ramblings, what makes me me

3 responses to “Festering nostalgia kills friendships

  1. La

    That part of my brain is completely shut off…which explains why I kept going back again and again and again to certain ex’s. Oh, a tip…put all those yearbooks and keepsakes way way up in the attic so you can’t get to them unless you ask someone tall…but you’re already tall so that might not work.

  2. beetqueen

    We don’t have an attic!

  3. La

    Then you’re in trouble. I haven’t seen my yearbooks in years. And all my college pictures of my ex-idiot have been destroyed…you know, come to think of it…if a person really hurts you so bad that you can’t forget, maybe there’s a biological reason for that. Like it’s some sort of coping mechanism to protect your mental state. I know that if my ex-idiot were to call me today, I’d probably hang up on him. I’m not a psychologist (although I went to school long enough to be one!), but maybe this old/new friendship is something better left in the attic with the yearbooks. 😦

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