Stop re-reading.

 

I found this on pinterest (duh) through one of my wise friends, so I pinned it, and I keep thinking about it.  Some people would interpret this to mean that you can’t move forward if you aren’t willing to let things change.  Maybe it’s a call to keep moving forward rather than pining for what you had (youth? time? less stuff that requires you to be responsible?).  All of that is valid, but that’s not what I am challenged with when I read this quote.

When I read this quote I realize that sometimes I’m guilty of re-reading not the most recent chapter of my life… but several chapters back.  And I don’t even read chapters.  I read (and by read, I mean dwell on and think about) specific paragraphs of the chapter.  Usually hurtful ones.  Either a time when someone was mean to me (Like that girl in 5th grade who out of nowhere, really, she had not spoken to me perhaps ever but we had, and have, mutual friends, mercilessly teased me for being flat-chested… umm I was ELEVEN!) or, worse, a time I was mean/thoughtless/careless to someone else (like telling my best friend in high school that I didn’t care what she thought about me potentially dating her ex-boyfriend… oy).  These “readings” sometimes jump out at me, for seemingly no reason at all. And I get stuck on pain, but more often shame. Reading.  And re-reading.  As if these moments are my favorite characters that I don’t want to let go.

People talk about letting go of things, and that’s what this quote alludes to, but I like the idea of starting a new chapter, as opposed to letting go.  Letting go implies that I’m holding onto this thing (maybe I am), and if I just let go, it will fall into the depths of the ocean, gone forever.

It’s not like that though.

When I let go of things, they don’t disappear, they’re still there.  They still jump into my mind in quiet moments.  I’m not grabbing after them, but they call after me.  And I usually oblige.

But I’m trying to remind myself that just because they’re there, doesn’t mean I have to read them.  Much less re-read them.  And I certainly don’t have to study them.

Maybe it’s not about letting things go, but about leaving things alone.  Leave the chapter when you’re done with it.  That book from your past may be on the shelf (unfortunately it doesn’t fall into the ocean), but you don’t you have to pick it up and start reading it again.

Do you have trouble re-reading your past?

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