Why A Dark Past Doesn’t Determine The Brightness Of Your Future

I catch a glimpse of myself in the smudged mirror as I exit the bathroom. My reflection catches me off guard, as it usually does. It’s something that I don’t really recognize. When did my own body become foreign to me? I rub the dark circles under my eyes from lack of sleep, I pick at the acne on my cheeks and chin, and I run my hands through my brittle hair.

Ashamed and embarrassed by my image, I look down. This was a mistake. I see the pudgy ghost of where my defined core used to be. I stretch my hands over the long purple marks that have formed on my legs. This is not a body I am proud of. Once, it was something that I spent hours a week working on, perfecting.

When had I decided that taking care of myself was no longer a priority?

I don’t have to look much longer to find my answer. I pull my sleeves down quickly to cover the scars on my arms, as I always do. This is the part of me that I am the most ashamed of. Somewhere when the depression set in, and I slowly began giving up on other parts of my life, my body had gone with it. I was ashamed of those scars. They are few, but they are there. They reminded me of the darkest era of my life.

I look up at the mirror again, this time blurred from my view by the tears threatening to spill onto my cheeks.

I remind myself of how far I’ve come, where I started, and where I was going. I reminded myself that what mattered was the person inside, not the scars on this temporal body. Just as the cuts had healed into scars, the raw cuts on my self-image would heal over.

I wipe my tears, smile at my reflection in the mirror, and I take a closer look.

I marvel at my smooth lips, the beautiful curl in my hair, and the deep blue of my eyes. I look down and admire the strength that comes from my sturdy legs, the full belly that means that I haven’t had to go hungry, and my elegant, long arms. I see my scars, both visible and not, as a foundation for great growth. My past does not define me, but it shows how I’ve gotten to where I am now. It reminds me that I’m strong. It reminds me that I can shoulder through the trials. It reminds me of what I will never be again.

Featured image via Vitor Gusmão Shimabukuro on Pexels


  1. I relate so well to this. It’s hard seeing things that remind you of your past, and writing about them are just has difficult. You’re so strong for being able to write about this- beautiful job!


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