“Hi, I’m a criminal.”

I’m still learning to cope with the aftermath of my actions.  I give my story more weight than it needs or really deserves. I judge myself so harshly I automatically assume others will do the same. It makes connection difficult. I don’t want to take relationships past a certain point. The fear of duping someone into liking me only to find out I’m a criminal. That I served time. That to use the words recently spoken to me, “society needs to be protected from you”.

We don’t meet new people and feel the need to divulge our past discretion’s as a means to be accepted by them.

“Hi! My name is John and I cheated on my girlfriend. Nice to meet you!”

“I’m Amy, nice to meet you. I shoplifted when I was a teenager.”

“Hey I’m Craig.  Before this friendship goes any further you should know I am a white-collar criminal. You OK with that? Great! Let’s grab a drink.”

This doesn’t happen and it sounds ridiculous. And a little funny.  Imagine if we all wore name tags with our past written on them.

And yet, with every developing relationship I feel compelled to share. That with every word spoken I am travelling further down a path that feels like an impending betrayal.  As the relationship grows so does my desire to share, but also my reluctance.  At a certain point a critical mass , in my mind only, is created and then sharing becomes more difficult.

It is when I have something to lose that I feel most lost. The risk of losing what I desperately miss. Connection. I feel like an outsider looking in. Looking in at what exactly? As far as I can tell the door is always open. I am choosing which side of it I stand on. I’m the one who puts myself on the outside.

And for every time I have crossed that threshold and shared not once have I been asked to leave, to go back outside.  Nobody has judged me poorly.  Nobody has grabbed their things and run to the hills screaming in fear. Not that I want that, but it would be funny to see.  I have been met with nothing but kindness, understanding and compassion.  I have been met with fist bumps and high fives.

My desire to share is two-fold. One is to be open and honest. To ensure that people know what they are getting into. The other is to own my story. To not hide behind it, sweeping it under the carpet for nobody to see.  My story does not define me, but I am using this experience to redefine me.

I have to remember some critical things. That I am not my past. None of us are. I am my actions. What I do now and with each day.  I have written similar words before, but when will I start believing them for myself?

And I think it is good to own my story. To accept responsibility for my actions and not hide behind the veil of omission.

I enjoy writing for so many reasons, but one of them is the Ah-ha! moments I get when I put my words on paper or the screen. The epiphanies that come from working through the myriad of thoughts racing through my brain.

I just realized, that by writing this post, by thinking so much about the need to share and the fear of impending betrayal the past and my story cast a shadow on all that I do.  By worrying about a future outcome that has yet to manifest itself I am missing the present moment and the beauty of new friendships.

In wanting so badly to own my story, the story in fact still owns me.

I am not sure how to reconcile that in my mind, all of this is so new to me. But it is part of the journey and I am learning to embrace every part of it.

Thank you as always for reading.






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