For too long, I have seen my present as this equation:
Positive past experiences +Negative past experiences = ME
I haven’t liked the sum, and I’ve pored through the equation, wondering where my addition is off. Where I mis-added, as though my past and my math is what’s off. But I am so tired of rehashing my past, rethinking every decision, every embarrassing moment, as if those experiences are everything.
Recently, I contacted a counselor. Perhaps, I thought, a third party can go through my equation to see where I’m adding my life incorrectly, to see where I can fix myself to finally be happy. The counselor asked me to write out a timeline of my life, to list all my highs and lows, so she could get to know me better and we could talk about who I am. But I don’t want to focus on that one time I wore an “uncool” sweater (that was simply ahead of its time), that I was made fun of about, and ruined 8th grade. It happened, it’s over, and I would wear that sweater every day if only it still fit. That day sucked. But it’s not who I am. I don’t need a counselor to walk me through that outfit – or any other day of my life. I'm tired of poring through my past with a fine tooth comb.
All along, my addition had been correct; I was adding, and adding, and adding. The answer I got just wasn’t the answer I was looking for. It wasn’t at all who I am. So all along, it was my equation that was wrong. I can’t get rid of my past – positive or negative. They all factor into who I am. But the math is not solely two factors, and those factors are not equal parts. The negative does not weigh on my present and future as much as the positive. My future is not a linear progression of reflecting and obsessing on the past. My life, my present, my future – who I am – is not just simple addition. I am exponential.
(Positive + Aspirations)2 + negative = ME. All of me. Who I want to be. My future.
All this time, I have focused so heavily on my past that I forgot to factor in my hopes, goals, dreams, and aspirations. It is my past along with my hopes that multiplies and grows. The negative is only just a small factor, added only after everything else has been multiplied. And that it what makes me who I am, and who I want to be.