Evolving isn’t making up for lack, changing isn’t about fixing.
In our worlds, there are people who light up or make us burn with frustration. It is not our place to hold them as our light or change them or teach them how to be. But I also know that the people who you surround yourself with each day seemingly inspire you to either focus on or digress from your authenticity. I take huge pride now in the fact that the people who I choose to hold close all want to walk their talk. We’re all at varying levels of success but that is our collective intent. Each and every one of them calls on me, inspires me or supports me (no matter how consciously) to keep growing.
I can look back over the last 20 years, or even the last two years, and can chart huge changes. I can now order a drink at a bar without trembling in my shoes from shyness. I can now host events without a crippling sense of being a fake. I can chat to someone without thinking that I’m boring them within an inch of their life. I can sit in a public space without hiding myself behind a book or a phone. I can smile at someone with suddenly turning beetroot. And last night I danced in the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall with a sum total of four other bold souls. I am not (was not) a bold soul.
I’m still the same person. When I look in the mirror, it’s still the same spirit who appears through my eyes. She’s narrowed the gap between what she says and does, but she’s still the same spirit. Nothing’s mended, just some aspects have notched up and some dampened down. Hopefully the changes have been in the right direction.
It has felt as if there’s been a silent revolution/ evolution more recently though. I’m less fluent in small talk but more present with those for whom I have affection. I’m more likely to pipe up about something I don’t like, but less likely to take anything personally. I offer huge affection and expect nothing back because it’s an expression of who I am, not a request for acknowledgement. I’m more aware of the signals I send myself and see my self-imposed limitations. One day, I’ll beat them, do so much that I need courage to do and, on that day, I’ll smile with a brand new freedom.
But it won’t be a new me. Or a better me. I won’t have given up something, gained something or eliminated any scars. I’ll just have shifted my focus to what feels right with me. I’ll have good days and bad days. I’ll have just as much to learn and just as much to work on. It’s just that, when I look in the mirror again, I’ll see a more ‘me’ me.
“It was more work than it seemed, looking through a telescope, as the Earth was continually moving and you had to move along with it. You don’t realize how fast this actually happens, and it’s kind of both creepy and wonderful when you stop to think about it. And it makes you realize there’s absolutely no way to avoid change. You can sit there and cross your arms and refuse it, but underneath you, things are still spinning away.”
― Deb Caletti, Wild Roses