People change. I’ve changed. I’m no longer the same person I was in high school, or college, or the years following. I am still ME but as life throws us curveballs, different experiences, and friendships that lead us down different paths, we change. So… I’ve changed.
When I was younger I had this fire in me and a desperate need to prove myself. To some degree, I still do, but its been tempered with age. I am a talker but I’ve been trying to hone my listening skills. Let’s be honest, I know me and what goes on in my head, what is of greater interest is what I don’t know, which is others, and that requires listening. I still have a fire and a drive but it’s not as reckless now. I try to consider the things I say and how it will affect others. I used to go for the shock factor and now, I am toning it down.
I have always looked younger than my age, and God willing, I always will. Good genes in my family. When I was in my late teens and early twenties I hated it though. I felt like I was being treated with kid gloves because I looked young and sounded young. So I cursed. Profusely. The “f-word,” is still a standby. I tend to have a dirty sense of humor and a flirty personality so I used those to my advantage as well.
I didn’t want to be treated as a kid so I tried very hard to prove I wasn’t. What did it get me? I was finally treated as an adult woman in the sense that the pervs in the restaurant industry wouldn’t hold back their lewd comments around me. I think being handled with kid gloves would have been better rather than hear their thoughts on fidelity and women as merely sexual objects.
In retrospect, while some of the guys were actually dogs, most of it was locker-room talk. The objectifying of women and the notion that if a wife doesn’t put out for her husband, then rest assured he was going to get it from some where. Or maybe they really did feel that way about relationships. I was never involved with any them so I couldn’t say for sure. All I know is that it damaged my opinion of men for years.
For a long time I’ve fancied myself a bit of a nomad at heart, deeming myself quirky and flighty, unreliable. Traits that I thought were charming and fit the lifestyle of a writer, an artist, a poet. I based it on the fact I could never seem to find my niche, I’m never satisfied. I’m always looking for the next job, next adventure, next infatuation. While I know that I will always look to what is next I’ve changed in the sense I’m making sure to enjoy the present. I’m still a nomad at heart and definitely quirky but I’m content. I like the life I’ve carved out.
I’ve pondered countless career choices over the years. I have many varied interests but when it comes down to it, when I consider going to college to be a teacher or a lawyer or law enforcement or vet tech or dog trainer, I realize I don’t want to do any of those things. I am passionate about and intrigued by all of those ideas but the reality is: none of those careers would hold my interest forever. I need to write.
Writing is my calling even if I never get published. Perhaps the only thing I will write is this blog, my journal, and emails to friends. Short stories or poems that I save on my computer and rarely share with others. That’s ok. The act of writing is personal to the writer and it brings me joy. If I do go back to college it would be as an English major. I could see myself being a lawyer, or a teacher, or going into law enforcement, or dog training but with all those careers, I see myself burning out. With writing, I can be all of those things if I choose to. Knowing that my drive for all those scattered interests doesn’t mean I am meant to be any of those things leaves me calmer, more peaceful.
I’m more aware of what works for me and what doesn’t. I’m more vocal about my needs and my weaknesses. I think I’ve grown more caring over the years. I’ve tamed the inner bitch that seethed with rage, always looking for a victim. I’ve shared some of the deepest, darkest parts of my inner being and found that despite the ugliness inside of me, the people I love are still here.
When I was younger I was so scared of losing the fire inside of me. I was even scared of losing the rage because I equated the rage with passion. I didn’t want to grow complacent. As I’ve matured I realized that that rage was passion but it was destructive. It built up walls around my heart and closed so many people out. I was ruthless, eviscerating others in my head for their flaws because I was unhappy with myself. While the diatribe lived mostly in my head, it seeped out sideways to wound the people around me. The nomadic urges and insane pressure I had put on myself to figure out what I was meant to be drove me insane.
I am a calmer version of myself nowadays. When something strikes my fancy, I’m still all in. Totally obsessed with an idea or notion until I move onto the next. I don’t have the same need to shove it down everyone else’s throats though. I can share ideas without the need to get people to come along with me for the ride. I still have a million interests but I’m figuring out what those interests mean to me and how to integrate them into my life without attempting to become all of them. Lastly, if I start to notice flaws in others, I stop and ask myself why it bothers me. Usually it has to do with something in myself that I need to work on. Yes, I’ve changed and it’s been for the better.