I’ve left behind so much in my past; sometimes that’s a good thing. But I’ve left behind versions of myself, little “me’s” scattered behind me, abandoned in favor of something more perfect. My perfection mentality judged that these unacceptable me’s needed to stay back there, hopefully disappearing into the mists of the past. I never wanted those versions of me to interfere with my quest to be everything I thought I should be. They were just going to hold me back.

Now that I am processing and discarding my shame, I am discovering a desire to know and welcome the old Tina’s into my life. I’ve always shunned the teenage me; she was the number one representative of past shame. I even stopped calling myself Christina and switched to my nickname Tina because Christina reminded me too much of the bad stuff.

Several months ago I found and purchased a 1979 yearbook from my old high school and yesterday I was looking through it. I found two pictures of me in the choir room and to my surprise I discovered in myself a welcoming attitude toward this girl I saw, the 14 year old me. I found that I wanted to get to know her all over again; I wanted to bring her back into my life and allow her to express herself through me. I liked her. For the first time in my life, I felt affection for the person I used to be and I allowed her to bring her essence, her personality, her quirks and imperfections and cuteness, into my present.

As I write my memoirs and flesh out my story and work through these old artifacts of shame, I am feeling closer to whole each day. As always, I am amazed by the way God’s grace works in my life. God’s spirit has been with me ever since the beginning, giving me not only the hope and the desire to keep searching for truth and peace, but walking with me along the path, through each hurt and frustration and each joy.

Written by Tina Gasperson

2 Comments

Jim Grey

I think that an important part of healing from the past is integrating the parts of us we rejected in our past. Perfectionism and a lack of compassion for ourselves does lead us to reject parts of ourselves. Much like you, for a long time I had a hard time looking at photographs of myself from my middle- and high-school days, a time when I was heavily bullied and lived in a rigid, perfectionistic home. On all fronts, I was never good enough; that I emerged as a gangly, unathletic, gentle geek made it worse because I didn’t fit some masculine ideal my family held. But in my 40s I came to integrate that person back into my life, and I found compassion for him. He is a part of who I am, even now, and it has been damaging to keep rejecting him.

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tinagasperson

Jim, this is very similar to my experience. I am glad you have been able to overcome this tendency to divorce one’s self from the perceived negative aspects of the past. I am afraid there are lots of people who never make it that far; never even realize it is a journey to undertake.

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