Monday, January 18, 2016

"You Aren't The Same."

So I've been hanging out in my studio/office/closet for most of the day, just getting things organized for another week of work and homeschool and I came across some of my old journals (old meaning from 2009-2010). Just for the record, I hate reading old journals. HATE IT. It all sounds like drivel to me no matter how old I get, but maybe I'm too hard on myself? But I keep them because not only are they a record of all the good things that happened, they are also a way of teaching me things about myself and the people around me, if that makes sense.

I parted with a friend around that time, after many, many years of losing touch, then rekindling the friendship in a constant cycle. I'm not going to go into whose fault this and that was because I'm sure there were things we both could have done differently. But I came across something that she said, and it really struck me which is why I'm writing about it now.

"You aren't the same as you used to be."

See...and pardon my lack of tact here....but this is the kind of crap that really pisses me off. Because I don't understand it. It's the strangest way to insult someone. I've heard it before, not directed towards me, but I've heard it said to other people and I just find it so incredibly odd.

I'm not the same. Okay. Compared to what though, or should I say, to whom? My teenage self? Should I be exactly the same as my teenage self? What a completely alarming thought. I would never want to go through my life acting like teenage-me, thanks. Am I not the same because I'm married now and have a son and didn't before? Your point is? That I think about other people before myself now, put others needs before my own?

See what I mean? It's weird. Why would we want to go through life always staying the same, never evolving, never learning anything from our past experiences? Why would I want to be the same at 20 as I was at 15, or at 30 as I was at 23? One of the greatest liberties we have in this life (especially if we live in a country were merely surviving isn't our only priority) is the chance to constantly reinvent ourselves, over and over again. And I feel it's something we should always be doing, looking for the better, gentler, calmer, healthier side of us.

But I could be over-analyzing this, which is something I've won medals for. It could just be that my then-friend one day realized I just wasn't fun anymore. It's probably true, to a degree anyway. I couldn't go out and binge-drink with all of the other twenty-somethings, not that I would have if I could have because it isn't something I enjoy doing. I think I'll just sum it up by saying that I could no longer go out and do destructive crap that I was only doing because of previous issues that were making me hate myself. There. That describes it perfectly.

Here's what I did instead:

I met a guy at a time when my heart was at its hardest. Over a little time, I realized that I did still believe in true love. The idea wasn't dead to me, I was just pretending it was. We got married (in case you hadn't guessed).

I had a baby. And I had one of those terribly nauseous pregnancies where you feel like if someone pokes you, you'll puke all over them. So I sat a lot. And I was bored, so bored. Which is how I discovered, or rediscovered, my love for painting and making things. I'd always made things, always tearing up my clothes to my liking, and beading my own necklaces, but I'd never really focused on it with any great intensity. I haven't stopped creating since.

I ditched all the poisonous behavior. That's kind of a broad statement, but it was a really necessary step. I stopped with the negative self-talk, I stopped using illness and other things as a crutch and instead started using them as fuel for the journey. I realized that pain could be useful, and through that, I found peace.

So yeah, I changed. I won't deny it. I absolutely did. And I can see how to another person, to someone who has known you for quite some time, it would probably be jarring. But the thing I couldn't seem to get across was that I'm happy. If I'd kept going the way I was....I'm not sure I'd even be here. All that sharp humor I used to possess (I kept the good parts), all that "funny" I-hate-everything wasn't a joke. I did hate everything, including myself. I was lonely in ways I'll never be able to describe.

"You aren't the same as you used to be."

Yes, I know. And thank God. Thank God.

I saw a quote on Ye Holy Pinterest the other day, by Kaci Diane, and it says:

"I love the person I've become, because I fought to become her."

I fought to become her.


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