Rewriting your past

Me…20 years ago

In college I once wrote a paper for my Psych class about the fact that the smell of motor oil turns me on. 

Weird right?

Yeah I know. But you see your sense of smell has an amazing ability to take you back to a moment that you had long ago- in an instant you’re there. You see my boyfriend at the time (now my husband) was a mechanic. We were dating long distance but every month or so he would leave work on a Friday and make the 5 hour drive to my campus to see me. He always smelled of motor oil and manual labor.

He doesn’t smell like that anymore. Now he smells like an office, or on a good day fiberglass. I gotta be honest….seventeen years later and motor oil still gets me.

It’s the same with dates isn’t it? You remember things on their anniversary and it’s almost like you have to relive the event. Every July 7th I relive the phone call from the doctor telling me that my husband had cancer. Every October I remember what the chemo did to him. To us.

But we’re not bound by these. I didn’t really put it all together until tonight. We can make new memories to replace the old ones.

My daughter turns 8 tomorrow and while I am heartbroken at the thought of her growing up I am reliving all the birthdays past. I am going through the baby book and remembering how amazing (and how terrifying) it was to hold her for the first time. Facebook memories is showing me all her past birthday parties and I am smiling through the tears at the amazing memories we’ve had over the years.

I didn’t even remember that tomorrow is also the anniversary of one of the darkest days of my life.

Twenty years ago my parents took me on a cross country trip to check out a boarding school. I had been really struggling at home and they didn’t know what else to do with me. They dropped me off at a school in California and left me there. There is so much to be said about this but to be honest I am still at a loss for words at this entire experience.

For years every March 3rd I would relive the fear, the pain, and the hopelessness I felt as they drove away and I returned to the dorm with strangers to be strip searched. I thought I would never get over that moment.

But then something wonderful occurred. And all of the sudden I didn’t even remember it had happened. In fact, had a friend not reached out to remind me we shared “move in” dates it wouldn’t have even crossed my mind.

I don’t know about you but that gives me so much hope for the future. 

Our past doesn’t have to dictate our future. Whatever we are going through- as horrible as it may be- can still be overwritten like a computer file in our brains. It may not be erased but it will be backlogged and replaced by the new memories.

So with that being said if you have a day or a moment that haunts you make it a priority to overwrite it. You are in control of your mind (even though it may not feel that way sometimes). It’s a freeing thought isn’t it?

All my love to my boarding school family who knows me better than anyone else ever will- even after 20 years. And all my love to my sweet sweet family who makes me crazy but also has become the fiber of my existence. They are the reason I get up every morning and fight the fight that is this earthly life.

Me now



If you liked this post you’ll probably also like Switchbacks and sippy cups or Lessons Earned

One thought on “Rewriting your past

  1. It’s interesting you shared this, and your husbands cancer. My husband was diagnosed quite unexpectedly, on the same day as one of my dearest friends b-day. Each year on that day when I should be celebrating with her, his life threatening moment still brings me to tears and anxiety. I hole to re-wire this day. Thank you for sharing.

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