I Know I Have Changed

I know I have changed. I’m no longer interested in the things I used to be visibly excited about. I no longer expect attention. I no longer feel anything when someone says they miss me. I no longer want anything from anyone. I no longer fantasize about romantic relationships. I no longer trust someone based on how they appear. I no longer care about the superficial stuff. I no longer dream about happy endings. I no longer dream. I’m okay now with nightmares. I sit with difficult feelings for hours-on-end. I accept it all as part of adulthood — No one gets through life unscathed.

I know I have changed. Lots of experiences have changed me. I’m not the person I was a year ago, or two years ago. Well, I do like myself now better than all my past selves but I’m sorry I’ve lost a lot. I’m sorry I’m guarded, my heart is closed, my body reacts with tremors. I’m sorry I can’t connect with people easily anymore. The love I used to give out generously has now been shoved inside; the rough edges are getting rougher; the shell has grown thicker. There’s this carefree, daring quality in me that has been dimmed. Now I’m a little more afraid, a little more reserved, a little less trusting.

I know it’s never the same again. Whiskey used to be my favourite drink, now all it does is give me flashbacks. Late night London used to be my favourite scene, now all I want to do is to go home and lie in bed alone. Cute boys’ text messages used to flatter me, now I just can’t delete them fast enough. All the sweet talks and invitations and promises in the name of having fun, I’ve seen through their facades. I’ve done decidedly differently to hold onto my core values. I have quit dating, quit responding to unsaved phone numbers, quit reaching out to people who provoke emotions in me but never the positive ones. I’m tired, I’m cautious, I’m frozen up inside. I don’t believe in easy, shiny things anymore. They hurt me too much.

In my life, I’ve made two really big mistakes. Both were related to trusting people too easily and not drawing boundaries where I should have. Both of them have changed me in significant ways. I know I’m never the same again. I only have one round of it all and the trajectory of me is being shaped, sometimes regretfully so. I’ve learned what’s for me and what isn’t, what’s worth hoping for and what should be crossed off my headspace. I’ve learned to not keep what doesn’t want to stay, to not fuel the desires that are ungrounded, or maybe to not even desire at all when the stakes are too high, the outcome is too out of control. I’m increasingly burdened by consciousness, by caring, by all the meanings I couldn’t help but search for in every thread of connection, even the most flimsy ones.

I know I have changed. I might want something but I won’t act on it. I might think of someone but I won’t tell them. It’s not because I’m a coward but because I now know better what brings real value and what’s wasting time. I don’t have time to waste anymore. My standards have gone up, my tolerance of bullshit has gone down, and it means I need a lot more patience and much less expectation. See, I have changed and it’s not a bad thing. Me before therapy and me in therapy, fortunately, aren’t the same person. Me in therapy knows I’m not always right, not always the victim, not always serving my own interests. Me in therapy knows I need to respect others and firstly myself. Me in therapy knows I’m capable of big, transformative changes.

In the timespan of a year, I have already grown so much. I now understand that things and people out there are all in different degrees of good and bad, and it’s my job to filter them out, to protect my own energy and spirit, to choose what aligns with my values and walk away from what doesn’t. Life gets both more real and quieter as I leave out all the noise that isn’t adding real value. I’m back to basics. I’m looking at myself. I step into my own bullshit to bring out my essence and put it in the forefront. No more pretense. No more fluff. No more ego. No more trying to be better than who I really am. Doing good or bad, right or wrong, I just know that if I didn’t face myself now, I would never actually progress, and I’m getting a bit dangerously too old to hide in “potentials.”

Right now, this isn’t a colourful, happy place. Things could be better. But I know things have to get worse before they get better. Changes are never comfortable, but the discomfort of good changes is always worth it. I know I have changed and I’m okay with it. I’m just learning to go with the current, to let it be.

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