It Doesn’t Define You

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We all make mistakes in our lives.  We’ll say things we wish we could take back and we’ll do things that we wish never happened.  There will always be moments from your past, no matter how distant or recent, you wish you could erase from your memory and the minds of others.  There is no doubt that these occurrences have shaped a part of you and there is no denying that they exist in your history; however, it is important to not let them define you.  These not so glorious times should serve as stepping-stones and learning experiences to help you grow as a person.  Like I said before, they did help shape who you are today, but they do not determine who you are.

Today, you may not be the same person who cheated, got into a fight, or made that stupid comment, but you once were.  It’s just the truth, but, once you accept that part of your life, learn from it, and move on, you and others can’t bind you to those past acts. We have to accept the changes we’ve made as individuals and forgive ourselves for our mistakes.  Most importantly, we have to practice this with others.  Just like how there are things about your past you would rather forget and not have held against your present self, others are going through the same situation.  I, for one, know that there were several people who I couldn’t look at without seeing their mistakes and the pain they caused, but, through time, they’ve proven to me that they are much more than those dark memories. Now, I can look past their history and appreciate their positive growth.  I have to recognize that people make mistakes that they may never do again.  I have to recognize that people change and that it is possible to change for the better.  I have to recognize that nobody can be defined by the actions of their past.

The best way I can explain it is by comparing a person to a word.  A word can’t be defined in one word because that word is only a synonym.  A definition consists of an explanation, which doesn’t include just one word.  Thus, a person can’t be defined by one action, one moment, or one time period, so don’t judge them by the errors of their past, especially if a change is trying to be made.  A person can change for the better just like how you can change for the better.  There just needs to be some faith and support for that change to happen and continue.  It doesn’t start to define you and those around you until you let them.

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About Tatiana Figueroa Ramirez

Born in Puerto Rico and raised in the mainland United States, I graduated with a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and am a 2016 VONA Voices Alumna. I currently perform spoken-word in the greater Washington D.C. area and have previously performed in Philadelphia, Miami, and the Dominican Republic. Most recently, I have been published in Public Pool, Spillwords, and The Acentos Review, and Here Comes Everyone: East & West Issue.

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