You Haven’t Changed…….
It’s funny how many people say that when they see you again after a prolonged absence. It makes me laugh a little as I feel like saying ‘why thank you but did you not notice those two gangly protrusions sprouting out from the ends of my fingertips’ and ‘what about those furrows that have developed in my brow, the glasses, the hairy mole and the comfort-fit backside’? I haven’t changed a bit and I love it……
My protrusions are my children. They are lovely of course but having them changed me more than anything and I love them for it. They taught me that I have more patience that I ever thought possible but there again, they taught me that I have a lot more learning to go. They taught me about tolerance, about persistence, charity, diligence, attention to detail and respect. They pushed my buttons, kicked my ass and then showed me the light and I thanked them for it.
And it wasn’t just my kids that changed me, there were the jobs, the friends, the pets, the husband (yes, just one) and the home manouvers. The all-night therapy sessions with friends and family, the illnesses and the days when the computer just said NO. Life changed me, life is changing me. I feel like I’ve changed A LOT.
But I have not changed.
So what do people see when they re-meet us for the first time in many, many years?
Why can they see past our minor physical imperfections, depressing bank account and personality flaws while we get hung up on them?
Well, that could be for one of two reasons.
A) They are just really good at lying and are bursting with happiness on the inside that you are fatter/ weedier/wrinklier and more tragic than they remembered / than they are.
B) They see the real you. That unchanging twinkle in your eye, that sense of adventure, the rebel that bunked school to go shopping in eighth grade, that person who was going to take over the world, that dynamo. The fact that you were always the strong one, the funny one, the caring one or the energetic one. What they see is the essence of you.
Like the rest of us I lose track of the ‘real’ me sometimes, forget that I haven’t changed, that I am still a bursting ball of energy that catapults in and out of situations like a positively charged particle (well, I like to think that I’m positive). I lose track of that sometimes because life FEELS like it changes you.
But it doesn’t.
We grow, we learn, we become attached, detached and re-attached, we glow brightly, we flicker but we don’t change. The trick to seeing this unchanging within us is to give ourselves time.
If you feel like you can no longer relate to your ‘I think I can fly’ superman seven year old self just find a quiet spot, breathe slowly for a moment and become aware of your body. Feel your feet on the ground, notice your breath as it rises and falls and see the colours that surround you. Embrace this quiet time, re-connect with yourself and most of all be kind.
You are amazing and do you know what? You haven’t changed a bit either.
PS: If you can relate to option A run a mile, people like that will try to put out your light and you don’t deserve that.