You are always free to change your mind and choose a different future or a different past.

Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

It’s taken me a while to get back to Wendy’s three quote challenge, just as it has taken me a while to get back to writing. But that’s another challenge; another story.

 Folks have argued with me about this quote – that we aren’t free to choose a different self-history, or that the past is the past; immutable.

Sure, unless we are shape-shifting time travelers or populate Star Trekian worlds, the concept of “changing our pasts” seems an impossible, whimsical perhaps dangerous farce.

But we are free to change how we interpret; interact with; understand and project/remembory our pasts. And the histories of others. And those that intertwine; choke; envelope; or blossom within our own.

I am growing in my own understanding of life lived/not lived. I can mine my past for new veins of blood and ore. I can change the narrative I chose to follow.

I spent my lifetime replaying the unpleasant, the shameful, the pain-filled images from first memory on in a Mobius loop of self-hatred; self-punishment; self-misunderstood/mis-interpreted; and self-denial.

Only 50 plus years on have I gained a modicum of wisdom; enough to begin to forgive, forget, let go. See not only the negative (or shift the narrative so only the negative remains foregrounded).

So, I am choosing a different past; not a re-write like my evil grandmother’s family history set to the tune of only her liking; but a gentler view, a tao of the past less downtrodden and worried ragged.

And through that choice, perhaps the strength to imagine a future; to learn to wish, dream, and hope. Nothing needs be immutable. There are those past “facts,” and then there is each kaleidoscope I choose to view them through.

“History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.” Karl Marx.

(see installment three . . . upcoming . . . . )

illustration: Good Reads