Like the leaves, browning, wilting then being plucked off by the softest of breezes only to be replaced with bright new buds only months later, we change.
From season to season, our skin is shed, peeled off of us like a latex suit and left behind in the dust. Sometimes, it’s a bit frightening to remove our skin, especially when we don’t quite know where we’re headed, and it stays on longer than intended, outstretched and causing drag. When others approach us, new friends or potential employers, they might see this skin, catching a glimpse of it in the light of day or moonlight.
All things need change, despite how terrifying it might be to face. I’ve had to learn this myself only these past few weeks when, out of nowhere, I felt change brewing beneath my feet. At first, I didn’t recognize these sudden dips as change, but it began to make sense later on when I remembered a journal entry I had written at the start of the year.
My intention this year was to meet people with similar values and let go of people I didn’t need anymore. For the majority of my life, I’ve been a people pleaser, and after an incident with my past roommates that resulted in lots of healing and self-discovery on my part, I knew I never again wanted to leap into the hands of someone wrong for me again. And not only did I desire friends who would support me, make me laugh, and allow me to ramble on about interests of mine, but I wanted people of similar values, as mentioned before. Values have been incredibly important lately. And people with similar values to me mostly entail people who are also lawfully good and obey rules (I’ve always been a rule follower, expect when writing) but aren’t scared to try new things and are willing to stay up all night watching reality television with me and appreciate honesty, unfiltered humor, and understand the importance of exercise. I’d love more people in my life who share my love of reading, writing, running, spirituality and trash television, but more so I've wanted people who were similar at core, not just at the surface. I’ve learned, over the years, that anyone can have alike desires, but not everyone has alike motivations, and alike motivations and intentions are what really brings two people together. At least, for me.
Anyway, enough about that--I’m afraid I’m passionate about this topic! Basically, I recalled this journal entry and my intention to let people go and make space for stronger connections with others as well as potentially new connections. I realized, after recalling this intention, that my wish had been unexpectedly granted.
Just after this journal entry, about five people I was in loose contact with stopped texting me. Like magic, almost as though I had accidentally wished upon it, I kept reaching out only to receive no answer, or at least little enthusiasm. Had I done something wrong? Did I say the wrong thing? Unfortunately, this event led me into a deep spiral that kept me in bed most of the day. I had never felt this low before, nor this lonely, and it terrified me. My life became so quiet. Suddenly, when my intention was to grow, it felt like everything had slipped from my life and the ground beneath me was incredibly unstable. If I made the wrong step, I’d tumble.
Then, just as quickly as the people had left my life, more people sprouted into it, like fresh produce ready to be plucked from the soft soil. An old friend of mine reached out about meeting once a week and writing our books/studying together; another old friend made space for my creative writing club and told me they could start joining; a new friend and I went out for coffee after having both danced around the idea for so long; randomly, some old classmates and acquaintances messaged me about books I had read or other interests of mine; my roommate and I have never been closer, making more time to talk and hang out outside of our apartment . I also grew much closer to my dad. And, with these new people pouring into my life, a confidence bloomed. A confidence that didn’t feel right and yet also felt completely real and authentically me. A confidence that wasn’t even because of the new connections and seemingly appeared out of thin air. For a while, I clutched onto this new confidence with all the strength I had, so terrified it’d slip from my grasp and I’d fall deep down again. But, it hasn’t left yet, and I’m beginning to think it won’t anytime soon. I’m beginning to realize with change, comes the blossoming of an inner strength I never knew I obtained.
It’s incredibly strange, really, how everything was almost forced into action. Maybe it was The Universe, or maybe it was fate, or maybe my skin was just begging to come off. Regardless, it was as though I was granted my wish by an unknown force and within a month, I was set out on a new path with a new headspace.
But, it wasn’t easy. I also had to make difficult decisions, speak my mind about things, and tap through many strong emotions. And I’m also starting in a new direction, unsure of where I’m heading but holding onto the hope that I’m going somewhere important, somewhere good for me.
Like leaves, I began to turn shades of orange and yellow (realizing I wanted something different, realizing that I wanted change), then became brown (slowly lost friends, felt the earth beneath me tremble), fell to the forest floor, alone (hitting my low and uncertain of whether I’d spring back up), and before I knew it, I began to not only grow but bloom into the brightest, strongest self I’ve ever known (a new leaf growing in my old self’s place).
The biggest thing I’ve learned from embracing change is how important it is to simply allow it. For a while, when friends suddenly left and difficult choices were presented to me, I wanted to resist it, and as though I was completely ignoring my wants, I felt myself turn around and head back the way I came out of fear. But, when I finally took a deep breath, allowed it to unfold around me, and walked forward into the unpaved yet colorful unknown, it all fell into place almost perfectly.
Change is scary, but we have to understand that our paths change, bending and curving away from people, goals, jobs, and more. And holding onto who we used to be will only stop us from moving onward into our best selves. It’ll box us in alongside our old skin and people who no longer serve us. Only we know what is best for us, truly. Only we can see the slightest formation of a bending path ahead. And while it can at first be awkward, lonely and as I’ve mentioned before, terrifying, I can assure you that it’ll all fall into place in time.
You can only become your true self once you shed that skin, and allow space for growth. Without space, how will you move onto greater things? Without space, where is the room for new connections, new desires, new values?
I wish you the best of luck with your change, whatever that might look like. And I’ll see you on the other side, in that next season of Spring.