Finding myself, can I lose the Stigma?

Where will you be in ten years, five? That is a question I have always given a halfhearted answer. Perhaps fear always stood in my way of answering it. I was afraid of being an eternal failure. The thought of never reaching the goals I wanted to reach, never really becoming the person I truly wanted to be. Perhaps fear from not knowing who I truly wanted to become. I want to be so much more than I am, I always have. The problem with wanting to be more than I am is that I have had the common belief that I can be anyone I want to be, but a part of me doesn’t believe it. That is called doubt, I am painfully aware.

What if we look back on the past, see where we have come to be, who we have evolved into over the last five or ten years? That is where I am today, I am looking at the person I grew out of, the human that the current me evolved from. As I look at myself, the old version of myself, I am unable to look for any length of time without diverting my attention elsewhere. The person I was is embarrassing, I am ashamed of my past reflection in the mirror. I want to erase it. I don’t mean to erase that part of me from myself, but I want the world to forget, to see me for the person I have become and forget that other person existed.

I find myself wanting to move away, change my name and assume the life of the person I truly am, leaving the old me behind. I desire a sort of rebirth in the world, in a world that knows the me of today, not one that remembers the inexperienced, naive, girl that lacked the confidence to stand up for herself. I want the world to forget the life that I so courageously fought to survive and change.  I no longer want to be remembered as the poor orphan child that had to grow up too soon. I am embarrassed by the pity and knowing looks.

I ask myself if it is possible to move on with life and leave all the ways I have been misunderstood as memories and not baggage. Can I leave it, leave the town and the people behind that can not see who I am for the cloud of memories of who I was? I want to change my name and move away, be the person I am without a memory cloud hanging over my head to remind everyone of the life I survived. Can I just be the person I have struggled to become without the fear of still being misunderstood because some people still see the me of ten years past? I realize that the possibility is not there.

As people grow older, they change, and the changes are accepted. However, there are some people who undergo such drastic changes in their lives that it is too hard, too much for people to accept as truth. How can that slow kid from high school grow up to be a genius respected by many? How can the child raised by criminals grow up to be a trusted security adviser? How can the baby born to a drug addict become an adult that has never desired drugs and has  a passion for healthy living? No matter the change, when it is drastic, there is a certain amount of disbelief attached to it.

We can not erase these parts of ourselves or subject everyone to a memory altering laser so that they only remember the parts we want them to remember. How then do we escape the stigma? How do we advance in ourselves and in the lives we have made without the knowing looks and the questionable statements of our character?

I no longer want to be remembered as the person I was. I no longer want to be known by the name I carry or the address I live at. I no longer want to be ‘that girl’. Can I just start over as someone new?  Atlanta, show me if it’s possible.