It sucks to learn someone has developed a negative opinion of me based on an impression I made ten years ago. They hate old-me. I hate old-me too.
I hit a girl in middle school. I didn’t realize that I hit her. It was one of those pump fakes to the face that actually made contact and drew blood, but not enough contact for me to feel when it happened. Her mom pulled me aside at a basketball game and told me she was almost going to let her son “take care of it”. I didn’t know what “it” was.
The realization hit me like a cold wave one night in college. The events surfaced in my brain and all of the dots connected to form a tsunami: I hit her. That mark on her eye was from me. I didn’t realize the correlation because old-me is an idiot.
I want to say that I’m sorry. I want to tell her that my girlfriend used to play-hit me until I told her to stop, and that we don’t hit each other whether we’re playing or not. I want her to know I was bad then and I’m better now, but I don’t want to make her relive the past.
I pushed my ex-girlfriends around — not literally, but emotionally. It took me a few years to learn I had a habit of bulldozing their feelings. If I saw old-me now acting how I did back then, I’d intervene and tell him to stop being an insensitive jerk.
It’s not just women. I held grudges against guys who had wronged me but were sorry. I wasn’t big enough to let it go, so I just cut them out of my life.
I’ve heard it said, “If you look back on yourself from five years ago and don’t think you were an asshole, you’re probably still an asshole.” That pretty much sums it up. I hate myself from ten years ago. I hate old-me from five years ago. Honestly, I usually hate who I was yesterday.
So I try not to judge people I don’t know anymore, because I’m no longer the person they knew, and they’ve probably grown too. All people change, and some for the better.