I don’t recognize the person I was a year ago.
A type of brokenness washed over everything that morning in September, and the timing of it all just carried the ensuing events at a pace that felt overwhelming and all at once.
After a twice-rescheduled wedding amidst an emerging pandemic, a dm from a stranger, and a good cry in a CVS parking lot, it was almost a sigh of relief when that rug was finally pulled out from under me for the last time.
I knew he meant it was over for good when he asked if I knew why he’d stopped getting me flowers; it was one of “our things” when we first started dating, and the tradition continued over the years for both special occasions and just because moments.
But then the flowers stopped, and apparently that was supposed to signal to me that he no longer loved me.
Maybe if I’d noticed the subtlety, our paths would’ve parted much, much sooner . . . but I held on to the potential of a relationship that, in hindsight, likely never would have had the legs to carry itself the distance.
But here we are, a year later, and so, so much has changed. There’s a lot of brokenness that transpired in the wake of all of this that I haven’t shared about, and likely never will because, in the words of Billie Eilish, “that shit’s embarassing.”
But that’s okay – the gist of it all is that the ending of that relationship changed me, a lot for the better, and a little for the worse.
This time last year, I couldn’t tell you who I was outside of a relationship. I’d spent nearly seventy five percent of my twenties in longterm relationships, wholly and completely enveloped in showing up for others without realizing much of showing up for other people is showing up for yourself, first.
Today, I’ve got a punctuated list of activities and values that I won’t minimize just to appease whomever I’m with. I know who I am separate and apart from anyone else.
This time last year, I was distraught over the idea of having to rebuild my life – routines, friendships, and probably most significantly, to learn to let go of a future I thought was so vividly within my grasp.
Today, I live for right now and loosely plan for tomorrow. I recently joked with a friend that the only two things on my calendar these days are tattoos and friends’ weddings . . . everything else happens when it happens.
A year ago, living so spontaneously would’ve stressed me the fuck out . . . now, I can’t imagine living any other way.
I think the biggest takeaway from all of this is that, if something scares you, like in a good way, not in a fearing for your safety kind of way, that’s a pretty good indicator that it’s going to help you grow into a better version of yourself. Shit, even if something isn’t a good kind of scary, it will also probably help you grow, but that might come at the expense of a lot of therapy after the fact.
Sometimes we don’t get to choose what type of scary we’re dealt, but at the end of the day, I think life starts to make a lot more sense when you surrender to the process and stop trying to choose your own damn ending. If you get that reference, you should probably get your eyes checked and start investing in some good moisturizers.
So here’s to not recognizing ourselves; it’s a sign of growth.
It’s a sign of change, for the better.
It’s a sign of good things to come, because but for the bad things that have been, we wouldn’t know how to appreciate the good things that are and that will be.
Or at least, that’s how I’m choosing to see this “anniversary” of sorts.
One whole year of stumbling, of getting up, and of chasing a new way of living.
Just remember, if you aren’t changing it, you’re choosing it.