“All it takes is that one time…”
My husband says this to me often with a childlike smirk. In a teasing voice with his hands waving in the air dramatically, and a twinkle in his eyes.
He says it as a joke. What he means is that I need to get over it.
He’s not wrong.
I have a terrible habit of being scarred for life from “this-one-time” type of things.
This one time I fell off my bike on Haleakala; and then I didn’t ride a bike for ten years.
This one time I forgot the words at a singing competition and asked to start over. Now I am scared I’ll forget the words every time I sing.
This one time I got weary of living with a disease called cystic fibrosis, and flushed my medication down the toilet. Then I almost died two years later.
This one time our apartment caught on fire. Now I have to constantly check a million times before I leave the house that everything is turned off and unplugged.
This one time I had to fire someone. Then they sent me an angry letter calling me a hypocrite and throwing all my insecurities and inner conflict in my face!
Basically: This one time I had a bad or awkward experience; now I have trust issues and tons of inner conflict to sift through.
I’m absolutely sure I grabbed the phrase from the 1999 cult hit American Pie. “This one time, at band camp,” says Michelle with the innocence of a schoolgirl as she admits to doing very naughty things with her flute. It became a funny catchphrase that we could say around unsuspecting adults at the time who never saw the movie and didn’t know how raunchy it actually was (sorry mom and dad).
I can see now that, what started out as a funny saying, has become a twisted phrase through the years that includes any and everything from minor accounts to traumatic events. And now I just can’t stop saying it.
My name is Mandy B. Anderson and I have been easily traumatized by one-time events. In fact, I’ve spent the last decade replaying certain conversations and situations in my head. That might sound unhealthy, but let me explain…
How I Wish It Would Have Gone
I used to be the kind of person that bottled up my regrets, locking them into the darkest corners of my heart. I was the only one that knew where the key was. And on lonely nights, when the world was sleeping but my mind was wide awake, I’d tiptoe into the attic of my heart and hold those moments in my hand like a snow globe, staring at it. Trying to shrink myself into it again. Just for a moment. To finally make sense of what hurt and what was still affecting me even though I tried my damnedest not to let it.
In the pages of my twenty-seven journals from the last ten years, you’ll find questions and answers and letters of how I wish things would have gone. What I would have said, had I been able to. How I see things now, versus how I saw them, then.
Every time I scrolled a story of how I wish it would’ve gone, I noticed something: a lesson was learned.
Strength was gained, character built, and hope sparked again. Somehow, processing it in the pages of my journal helped me make sense of things so I could eventually move on and let go of the inner conflict I had locked within.
My friend, if you’ve been struggling to find peace with your own “how I wish it would have gone” moments, then I encourage you to grab a pen and paper and glean some wisdom. Lean into it and write down the answer to these 4 questions:
- How do I wish it would have gone?
- What did I learn from what actually did happen?
- How has this shaped me into who I am today?
- What choices can I make to move forward and be stronger because of what actually happened?
Our inner conflict holds us captive and steals our creativity. It sabotages our relationships and stops us from growing and maturing. And, it kills our hope. Reignite your hope again by bravely leaning into the questions above.
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