One of the most difficult things in life is facing your past. I spend a lot of my time reliving previous actions I have taken, it takes up so much energy and worry – i am a huge bearer of guilt. Even for the most mundane of things. I can thank my OCD for that, it means I over think every little thing, no matter how small so imagine how it feels when something big occurs. Since my OCD has only got worse as I have grown older, mostly during university it escalated, it means previous words spoken and actions taken come back to haunt me even if I thought very little of them at the time. It results in a lot of strange apologies my friends can’t quite understand, because either it never mattered or it was so long ago no one remembers, the problem with me is…i never seem to forget, I relive and relive until I can’t cope with the guilt. Annoyingly my brain can be pretty rational at times so I can trick myself into thinking normally, ‘it was so long ago it doesn’t matter’, ‘you’re a different person now’, ‘people can change’ – but the truth is no one would punish me more than I punish myself.
Today I was faced with a lie I told when I was 14 – I chose to face it because it meant becoming closer to my best friend, who up until now thought she knew everything about me. I was 14 when I met her and stories were embellished to seem ‘cool’ – I never thought in a million years that it would come back to bite me on the bum. I lied about my virginity when I was 14 and I am now 22, i only told her the truth today, that I had never slept with anyone but my boyfriend who I have been with since I was 18 and have known since I was 14 also. I never a batted an eyelid when I told the lie, I just thought it made me look good – but 8 years later and I realized it created this barrier between us. She told me it explained A LOT about me and in turn meant I could tell her some other things…such as…when I lost my virginity, my boyfriend had thought I had been with others previously, because I never told him otherwise. He was a virgin too. I ruined our first time and for 2 years into our relationship I couldn’t bring myself to tell him. A little lie when I was young…destructive. I did tell him eventually. The truth is when I was younger I couldn’t fathom the idea of a future for me and my best friend or me and my boyfriend. I didn’t know she’d be like a sister or that i’d fall so deeply in love with him that one day we’d get married (I hope!) – I assumed we would break up, probably after uni, I’ve graduated now, and so my best friend would never have to know. I thought my boyfriend and I might not last because it was my first love…but we don’t live in a movie, life is real, this is real and I should have been honest from the beginning I wish I had known better when I was younger. That’s a lie I could never hold on to because both parties I felt needed to know, as the closest people to me, no matter how embarrassing.
Strangely I had let my best friend believe I had slept with others because I found that easier to explain why I thought I had HIV rather than explaining to her about my OCD – that I sometimes have irrational fears of HIV or Chlamydia from public bathrooms – so bad that I have taken 3 HIV tests regardless of only ever being with my boyfriend and him only ever being with me. I am sure I am going to be that ONE person in the world that gets it some other way and loses everything because of it.
So, who am I now? A girl who hugely regrets so much but is trying to come to terms that some things have happened in the past that I will always regret but will never be able to change. That as we grow up we become different people and those things don’t matter anymore. Apologise for those things you can apologise for, ignore the ridiculous things because no one else can understand why in my mind it matters and move on, using everything you’ve learned to be a better person. I’ve made some stupid mistakes in my life, but I hope to carry the lessons forward and remember that I am what I am now, and i can not change who i was then. And let’s be honest, a lot of my mistakes way helped me develop into the girl I am today…and that’s good enough for me…now. I just hope I don’t look back here in twenty years and feel the regret I feel when I look back at my teenage years.
Onward and upward,