Do you like change or do you hate it? Do you thrive off it or does it paralyze you? Are we meant to stay the same forever, or does learning happen in the process of change, growth and evolution? I think we all know the answer, so why are we all so damn afraid of it? Why does the idea of change feel like a death sentence?
I grew up surrounded by change. My parents divorced at a young age. We moved around a lot and I was the new girl in class at several different schools. To this day, I hate being the “new girl” anywhere I go. Experiencing so much change in such a short amount of time caused me to despise it. If I did nothing else as an adult, I promised myself I’d avoid change at all costs in order to protect the greater good and me. I wouldn’t ruffle feathers, I would consider everyone else before myself, I would play it safe and I sure as hell would not put my kids through what I had been through. Maybe not the most realistic outlook, but how many 11 year-olds do you know that are realistic?
How we are raised has almost everything to do with how we will eventually see the world. It has much to do with what we will want or not want for our futures and for our families. Our desires and goals will stem from the traditional ideals and values each of our family units prioritize and experience during our upbringing.
I decided as a young girl that I would marry one time, have babies and raise them to accept everyone as they are, as they wish to be, and that also meant acceptance if they changed. Well, with the exception of me. I wasn’t allowed to change. Change for myself meant failure; failure to uphold the plan, failure to follow-through, failure to live up to my own expectations, and therefore everyone else’s expectations of me.
Entering adulthood, becoming a mother and wife quickly awoke me to the realization that my perspective may not be the most conducive, and I may need to bend a little in order to make room for my own happiness. A slow process of change began to happen. But I’d draw the line when it came to my family unit. I had decided that I’d forever have my picture-perfect family, because I didn’t have one as a child, and life would have been better if I had, obviously.
For someone who was so accepting of others, I wasn’t very accepting of myself. I couldn’t change; I wouldn’t change, even if I was unhappy, because I had to prove the little girl in me right. Keeping my family together would be the best thing for all of us.
So when it wasn’t the best thing for me, a change in me began to take place, one I didn’t know was actually happening until it was too late and something had to be done. Something had to give. I had to make a change. I had to change.
“What a failure I am! I can’t even keep one damn promise to myself. I can’t just suck it up and do it for the sake of my family, or at the very least, my children. What an awful mother I am and an even worse wife. Who do I think I am to believe that I deserve something for myself? What happened to doing things for the greater good, Alison? Who the hell have you become? No one even knows you anymore. You’ve changed!”
I truly believed that because I changed, that meant I lied. It meant I lied about what I wanted, what my intentions for my family and our future actually were. It meant that I was no longer worthy of the love of others because I had unintentionally fooled them and myself. And now they’ve shunned me, or spoken the most untrue words behind my back, or forgotten me. And I believed I deserved it.
I believed I deserved the abandonment, and the hateful words flying at my phone and at my face. I believed I deserved to suffer because after all, this was my entire fault. The greater good was no longer good. It was disappointment, shock, sadness and judgment. I had changed.
I didn’t mean to change. I didn’t do it on purpose. I didn’t want to hurt anyone. I didn’t want to suffer. But I changed and I couldn’t take it back. I couldn’t even tell you the moment it happened. It was gradual, suppressed, ignored and denied until it could no longer be. And here I am, changed.
I am also free of my own failures, failures that were never failures but hard lessons. I am free of my own expectations, because I never expected to change, and yet it happened, and that’s ok. I am free of my own judgments. I am free of my own disappointments.
I am free.
I have changed.
Thank God, I have changed.