We Need to Talk
In the midst of a season where you have been ever-present, I wanted to write to you and explain what it’s like having you around. As you know, I’m not the best at embracing you face-to-face. I’m not the type to welcome you with open arms, and you’d be forgiven for assuming my stand -offish attitude for someone who fails to see any of your positive qualities.
But I like you, Change. This may be a fact that surprises you as much as it surprises me.
As the years pass, and the freckles on my arms get a little darker, and the lines on my forehead trace how hard I’ve tried and how much I’ve hurt in previous seasons, we’ve gotten to know each other more intimately.
I know that you like to pop in unannounced and you know that I prefer preparation. You know that some of my closest allies are Expectations and I know that you rarely take their opinion into consideration. I know that you are the bringer of lessons and growth, and you know that I will always struggle before I accept.
I hold my breath when you ask me to exhale. You fire the starter’s gun when I tell you I’m not ready. I turn my back on your invitations to evolve. You treat my five-year plan as nothing more than a flimsy suggestion.
In times of change: I’ll come through it to a place of clarity, perspective, and hope. I’ll breathe, commit to stepping forward, and rise when I’m ready.
This One Time …
Like the time you brought me the love of my life. Remember that? When we had discussed it originally, I had ordered from a menu of options I thought made my perfect Person. But did you listen? No, you did not. So, I’d cursed you to stay away because my heart couldn’t handle another disappointment. But did you stay away? No, you did not. You waltzed in with your version of love and waved it under my nose every Saturday morning at 9.00 am. I was innocently ticking off my bucket list via weekly piano lessons, and there was Love, sitting beside me teaching me when to bend my thumb under in C Major scale. Well played, Change. Well played.
But Love didn’t look as I had asked for.
And what did I go and do? I very nearly broke that love, didn’t I? I tore at it, rejected it, blamed it, and threatened to walk away. I nearly lost the best thing that’s ever happened to me all because you didn’t read the menu of my Person.
It’s lucky I realised in the nick of time that you knew better, Change. My heart couldn’t ignore how much you got right, even when my head remained pissed off that you ignored my requests. You know I throw a good tantrum, and I know you’ll say, “I told you so”, now.
We rock more than we roll, don’t we Change?
It’s Not Always You
But I’m talking as if you are always the hitman and I am always your target. That’s not true, is it? There are seasons when I summon for you and you come willingly, notepad and pen in hand, ready to collaborate. I present my ideas and you nod enthusiastically. You remind me to temper my expectations, and I blatantly stick my fingers in my ears and hum loudly. And then we do it together.
Like the time I decided to start taking my writing seriously. Remember that? I’d told you that ignoring my need to create was making me feel unwell and you agreed. I promised I’d stop making excuses for not doing it and start finding my brave, and you warned me that being brave wasn’t a destination point, but a process. And then, every time I lost faith and doubt became loud, I told you I didn’t want you around anymore. I told you I wanted to go backwards in time to the space where I didn’t have to create and I didn’t have to be brave, because that space was easier, and I can’t do it anyway. And you listened, Change. You made me feel heard, and then you tilted my gaze forward and showed me why I summoned you in the first place. Because brave living is always better.
You’re alright, Change. I like you.
I Owe You So Much
For all the times I have treated you as an imposter in my life, as a criminal violating my sense of safety, or simply as the kid no one wants to be friends with in the school yard because you’re different, I want to tell you the things I haven’t said that you deserve to hear.
1. Without you, my life would not know the love that is now the very foundations from which I move forth into the world.
I realise now that it doesn’t always have to make sense. It becomes the right thing anyway.
3. I realise now that it doesn’t always have to make sense, and even when I can never accept that it’s the right thing – because someone is lost to me permanently, or because I have made a mistake I will regret for a very long time, or some other reason that has caused me to scar – that I can and will adjust and I will be okay.
4. Sometimes I decide things about myself so that I don’t have to choose brave. Like convincing myself I don’t really want to find love. Or travel. Or move house. Or write.
5. More often than not, you act before you explain. I resent that, and we need to agree to disagree that this is the best way to go about life.
6. More often than not, you are right. I both resent that and commend you for the nudges and shoves you’ve given me that have brought me to where I am today.
7. We both know that a decent tantrum about the hard bits of life changing is just part of my process. I say things to you that I don’t mean, Change. I rally and flail and if it’s bad enough, I’ll ugly cry, too.
8. I hope you also know by now that I’ll come through it to a place of clarity, perspective, and hope. I’ll breathe, commit to stepping forward, and rise when I’m ready.
9. I’m grateful that you take chances on me, even when I choose to lock the door and pretend I’m not home when I see you in the driveway.
10. And mostly, I’m grateful that you don’t shrink in response to my resistance. You don’t decide I’m less capable because of my concerns. Instead, you demand I show up bigger, braver, and more authentically every time.
We can do this together, Change. I accept that our timing won’t always synchronise. I accept that your map is most definitely different to mine. And I accept that there is always going to be a little growl in growth.
I commit to seeing you, hearing what you have to say, collaborating when we can, and offering you what I have to give at the time.
You’re alright, Change. I like you.