Unchange My Soul

I’m angry. I admit, I’m an angry soul. I’m sitting here on a sofa, at the end of a beautiful day full of family, friends and laughter. And I don’t get like this very often; I’m usually a happy person. But even though I don’t get like this very often, here I am. I sometimes do get like this.

I’m crying.

Not as passionately as I had when I lost you. No, that was a different kind of angry. It was raw and unimaginable, it was a hollow cave and no light at the end. I’m crying lightly, not because I miss you or want you back. I don’t. I want you to stay as far away from me as possible.

I’m crying because I’m angry. And I used not to be an angry person, but now I am. I’m here, angry for no reason. There is a reason, actually. I’m angry because of you. I’m angry because no matter what I’ll do, I’ll never be able to erase what you did to me.

Not the memory of it, the memory of it I can throw into the deepest abyss. Not the memory of you, the memory of you I can burn and blow away in the wind, just like you told me to. Not the pain, the ache – the ghost of those days. Those I can let go. But even as I let go of these things, of the past, of you – even as I let go, I can feel it inside. The trace of those days. The brokenness that cannot be unbroken.

I can feel myself a changed person, not aching but bearing the scars of what you’ve done to me. I can feel myself changed, and I don’t want to be changed. I don’t want to be changed by you, but here am I – changed.

And then there is the helplessness of not being able to unchange it. I can heal, I can forgive, I can love myself ever more and I can love others ever more. But I used to be a dreamer, an idealist, a romantic, and restless soul. Now I’m none of these things and I’m tired, battered. And I can’t change it.

 

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Why is the past so seductive?

Have you ever… caught the scent of something far away? By far away I mean forgotten and buried in the clutter that is memory. But there it is, resurrected, and more vividly than you thought your memory could do. And with it come images, come sounds, come times long gone, and then, beside them all is a feeling. You can’t really place it, can’t really describe it, but you know you’ve felt it before and suddenly, you’re gripped with a terrible desire to feel it again. It’s not enough, you think, to smell this scent and remember those days.

It isn’t nostalgia. I told myself this. I still think it isn’t. Maybe it is.

There was this Turkish TV show I was watching when was 12, and in Grade 7. 2009, that was my best year to date. It was the year I was discovering life in all its facets, friendship and caring, achievement and work and passion, and even a calling. A calling I’ve been trying to follow – not always without result – and which I’m following today. I’ll let you guess the calling.

Yesterday I have come across a scented notebook I had been using that year. The scent alone was enough to transport me back there and I wished that year had never passed – and here is what I call nostalgia. But then I opened the notebook, and inside was my first attempt at writing. A novel, I’d called it. It was, in fact, a retelling of the Turkish show I mentioned above. I was head over heels over it (honestly, the male lead too) and I couldn’t imagine a story more beautiful. So I retold the entire plot in that notebook, complete with dodgily printed lovey-dovey photos.

Yesterday as well I have used my pro internet research skills to look for the show online, and for subtitles (since, you know, I speak no Turkish). I couldn’t find any, and that’s when I realised how old the show really is. In the end, I did find a dodgy version of the show on an obscure Turkish site. I am now in the process of rewatching it without subtitles, yes, because my Turkish-TV fetish has endowed me with basic knowledge of the language. Still, it’s a struggle, but a lovely struggle.

How do I explain this? There is something very comforting about sitting in my room in 2017 watching and enjoying something the 12-year-old me has enjoyed. It is not reliving anything, but something a lot more seductive. It’s reconnecting with my past self, giving a subtle nod towards those activities loved then. And it’s past me holding my hand today, tugging at it quietly to say “I’m still here.”

It’s comforting because it is a reunion – of then and now, of child and adult. I have a theory that the past is never really gone. Every version of us that ever lived is there, inside, and waiting to be acknowledged. Those versions who suffered, those who loved, those who won and those who lost, and those who loved and those who laughed – they are all waiting for a reunion, for coming together.

I can see them, now, all the versions I ever was, sitting at a big round table at the end of time, recollecting memories and writing up a short memo of everything I really was but thought I wasn’t, because I thought the past was meant to be forgotten.