“One thing I found on my journey…is how hard it is to keep an openness to things changing.” –Elsa Kennedy
Fiction. Based on a True Transformation
By Charlotte Thomas
This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional
Since when has Change become boring, yet all at once, also terrifying? Where did the innocent excitement of new things merge into dread? Was it when others started treating us as adults too young, and we were expected to deal with mature stress before we even knew the Change had occurred? In fifth grade, we are still children. We’re innocent and in need of protection. We’re coddled and have an exuberant excitement for the world opening wide before us. Then we move up, one year, one summer, hardly three months, and we wake up to being adults. We are supposed to know the cruel ways of the world that seemed so eager to gently nudge us into its open arms. We no longer receive time to ourselves throughout the day, and we are given more hours of work to do after an already stressful day of not only managing the instruction, and work, but also the pressure of those we call peers.
Change arrives and leaves us sometimes before we even knew its presence was upon us. It wisps by like a power-hungry ghost and leaves us different than the person we were the day before. We are forced into the adult position that our (pre)teen years laid out for us. This Change that was both unexpected, and oftentimes, unwelcome.
Change has lost its palpability. Change is now hard to swallow and gives people a real, material fear that can feel so suffocating. Change is supposed to be exciting, and new, and a sign that we are growing up. Coming into our own. Forging our own path to a newer and brighter future laid out by some divine intervention.
We are instructed to embrace our Change, and accept all outcomes with open arms, and push through hard times no matter how dark those times may be. However, they all too easily forget that in the moment Change arrives, we are often frozen. We freeze and try to last in the few moments we have of being who we know we are, of being comfortable. But the Change comes all too fast and suddenly, we’re in the moment where we transfer, and no matter how hard we try, we can never go back to who we were before that moment. We wake up to find someone else in the mirror that we may not recognize, that we may try to Change, so we can feel comfortable in our place again. But it won’t be the same again. It’ll never be the same again.
But thus, is life, isn’t it? Change is life. However harmful or helpful it can be, it’s still there, ever-present, and ironically, unchanging. Change is typically only beneficial in hindsight. In the moment, we are unsure and conflicted, and turbulent with all kinds of emotions, ranging from joy to anticipation to anxiety to despondent.
Looking back on my own life, many of these moments are filled with all of those emotions, some more than others in certain situations. And although I rag on Change for forcing me to grow up, I charge it with allowing me to become the person I am now. Someone emotionally intelligent, compassionate, and who tries to be understanding, and forgiving due to the wrong choices I made that forced me to mature, perhaps before I was ready. When I was younger, I watched maybe one too many Disney TV movies that idealized the Change I’d face in my life, especially the Changes I’m going through now. But this isn’t an early 2000’s teen movie where everything always works out in the end. Sometimes things aren’t what I expected, and part of this time in my life is acknowledging that life isn’t like the fantastic depictions I grew up absorbing but grittier and darker than I realized.
They tell me these will be the best years of my life, but that leaves me stuck, waiting to have that amazing experience that I’ll remember in thirty years. But, so far, at least compared to those classic 90s college films, I feel almost as though my life has been…unremarkable. Things are hard. Things are stressful, and usually happening all at once.
Change is forever constant, and there is no avoiding that fact, no matter how hard I may try to relish in the small moments where I am still the person I’m used to, and not the person I could become… maybe tomorrow. Life perhaps is a bit too harsh to some. But it goes on, and we never stop Changing.