On the Job: My Past Caught Up With Me Today (Part I)

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I was a tornado, a wrecking ball, a bull in a china shop. I did whatever the hell I wanted to do and left a path of destruction behind me without a care in the world.

I hate thinking about who I used to be and the things I used to do; it makes me feel like a terrible person.

I wish I could erase some of those mistakes and forget they ever happened. But who I am today is because of those mistakes; they led me to this very moment and ultimately made me a stronger person.

When Past and Present Collide

Part of my past includes a criminal record. I hate even typing that word: criminal. My name is filed away in the basement of the courthouse as a criminal – how terrible is that?!

Even though I’ve changed and moved forward, my past still haunts me. I recently applied for a new position at my company and had to go through a very thorough background check. I got a phone call from my boss to come to her office and, when she explained they needed more information about my offenses, I immediately started crying. It was an awful feeling.

I’ve been sober for over two years; I’ve been with my company for about a year and these people know me as the person I am today. They don’t know the crazy out of control party girl, but my background check gave them some insight on who I used to be…and that killed me.

Burning the Paper Trail

I’ve worked so hard to put the past behind me, yet there I was…dealing with all those old mistakes again. The information my boss requested involved writing a letter explaining my actions and obtaining a copy of the police report.

I wrote the letter and I went to the courthouse, one of the places I’d promised myself I would never step foot in again, to pick up a copy of the police report. I sat in the parking lot and cried as I read through the pages. I was about to hand over the script of a scene from my old life – a script that would surely change everything my co-worker’s thought of me.

But then I had an epiphany; that was the “old” me. The “new” me had already faced down the demons of her past, so I gave my boss all the details of the incident and hoped for the best. Because all I can do is move forward and let my actions today speak for themselves.

Remember: We all make mistakes. We all have a past. But that doesn’t mean the past gets to define the future…unless we choose to let it.

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