People have this habit of telling you that you’ve change like it’s a bad thing. I’ve found that in most cases the people telling you this are people you don’t want to be around regardless of how they feel, but the fact remains.
People often treat change as a disease. But change isn’t a disease. Change is neither inherently bad or good. It’s just different and that can be scary. Yet sometimes, maybe even most of the time, different is good.
For the sake of example, let’s talk about me. I’m obviously not denying that I’ve changed. I won’t sit here and pretend that I’m the same person I was 4 years ago or even 4 days ago. One of the great things about life is the fluidity with which we’re allowed to navigate it. On some basic level I’m always going to be me and you’re always going to be you and there isn’t a lot either one of us can do to change that. But at the same time, we can’t expect ourselves to face an ever changing world while remaining firmly stuck in our ways. We’re always going to be adapting and learning and evolving.
Remember when you were 5 years old and all you wanted to do was be an
artist? Remember how, at the time, you were so sure that one day you’d be sitting on a beach somewhere painting masterpieces on an easel while somehow making enough money to support yourself and your ten cats? And look at you now! You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a secretary at an architecture firm! And that’s great.
You’re still the little kid you were when you loved drawing and kittens but now you have new dreams and new goals and new hobbies.
Maybe you still draw but you don’t have a crush on that blonde boy who’s favorite color is blue and who’s always playing soccer at recess. And that boy you liked probably thinks that women pee out of their vaginas and his Woman Crush Wednesday has been Kate Upton every week since he saw her in that Game of War ad. People always tell you “don’t let them change you” when you get a big job or a new boyfriend. But I want to know why not?
We’re all just throwing things at a wall waiting for something to stick why not let other people help you out? Let someone hand you things you would never have thought to try throwing. You’ve been trying out every form of dance and nothing seems right to you until someone comes along and suggests yoga and suddenly you’re entire world flips upside down because you love it so much.
Sure, we have the classic example of the musician who sells out just to become rich and famous but loses himself in the process. But let’s cut our losses and open ourselves up to let other people change us. You could learn a lot from other people and maybe you’re just waiting to meet your muse. Which brings me to my next point: we can’t expect ourselves to want to be friends with the same kinds of people our entire lives.
It’s okay to let new people into your life and to let other people go. 18 year old me could have been friends with my 18 year old friends for the rest of eternity but unfortunately 18 year old me was only 18 for a year.
Then I was 19 and my friends got older too. And before I knew it the people I’d loved and laughed and cried with were strangers. They’d become people I had nothing in common with, or maybe I had become someone who had nothing in common with them. Either way it suddenly felt like I was straining so hard to have something common with people I didn’t even seem to like any more. So eventually I just stopped. I made new friends and fell just as in love with them as I had been with all the people I had just separated myself from. And maybe one day I’ll leave them too, or maybe I won’t.
There are people who stand the test of time. People who grow with you or make you grow with them. People who you can’t seem to shake. Who always seem to get along with you and support you and those are the people that really matter. Because those are the people who are never going to tell you that you’ve changed like it’s a bad thing. Those are the people who will see you throw yourself recklessly into a new relationship and say I hope this one is the one. Those are the ones who will be there for you if it wasn’t the one.
Those are the people who notice your happiness and passion and confidence and will pick you up if you stumble but never hold you back. The people who let you make mistakes. Who let you be distant when you need to be. Who aren’t annoyed when you’re clingy.
The people who let you change and love you when you do. Because the truth is: you’ve changed. I’ve changed too. I’m changing right now.
And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. The people who tell you that you’ve changed always have some example, “you’ve gotten so mean” or “you don’t care about the things that you used to”. But what some people saw as anger felt more like self confidence to me, and standing up for myself is always something I wanted to be better at. What some people saw as conceit felt for like finally loving my body, thick thighs and all. What some people saw as change feels like growth, like evolution, like expansion.
I’m still me, I still love the Smiths and writing and cats and I still sometimes stay awake much later than I should. I still stare at my feet when I’m walking and I still love cuddling and rainy days and I still buy every book with a personal inscription that I find in a used bookstore. I still wear too much makeup except now I no longer think I need to.
My heart no longer pounds at the thought of confrontation and I’m getting much better at talking about my feelings. Lately I’ve been trying to get into a skin care habit and sometimes I even exercise. Maybe the me that some people preferred isn’t in here anymore but personally I’m a much bigger fan of the me I saw in the mirror this morning.