How I’ve Grown

I keep thinking about everything that happened in the last year.

Today is not a special day or anything. It’s not my birthday. It’s not New Years. Nothing happened a year ago today that marks it as unique. Nothing is going on today that makes it memorable.

But I’m contemplative.

Oh how I’ve changed. And oh how I haven’t.

This past weekend I had a great realization about all the wonderful things I deserve in a relationship. Of all the things I’m worthy of. It was a momentary glimpse. But they’re coming more often now.

I was talking to my friends about this, when one said “I feel like it’s never helpful to compare a more established relationship to the first six months or so.”

I became angry, defensive, defiant. How dare she?! I thought. And then, for whatever reason, maybe because of my recent mindfulness training, I breathed. I breathed and I focused inward. And I realized that with just that statement, I had fabricated a story. A whole story about how my friend believed that my relationship with Peter was not valid because it was only good during the so-called honeymoon phase.

It didn’t matter in that moment that it was also good after the honeymoon phase. That to my glee and surprise we turned the corner on our first big fight and found ourselves happily in love again. Like the beginning. Only better.

The stories we fabricate rarely care about any disproving evidence. They happily discard those by the wayside, holding on to evidence that proves they are fact, not fiction. They take any ambiguous evidence and twist it. They turn anything else into lies.

A year ago, I would have let this story sweep me away.

I would have felt anger and bitterness towards my friend to cover up the hurt and pain and invalidation I was actually feeling. Because telling someone you feel hurt and invalid is scary and hard.

A year ago, I wouldn’t have even recognized the story. I didn’t recognize it or the many others I was telling myself at the time. I would have thought that I had insight to a real truth, because I consider myself insightful. I would have thought that I had caught a glimpse of something I shouldn’t have seen, and I would have savored that knowledge.

But it wasn’t knowledge, it was a fabrication.

This year, now, I can recognize the story and I can share it as  just a story, not as my truth. I can look at my friends and say, this is what I tell myself, is this what you meant? What is your story?

So I am different, but also the same. I see the stories I told myself a year ago, and I wonder what to do with them. I recognize their fallacies now, but I’m not sure if I can turn to my friend and say “remember, a year ago? Is that what you meant? What was your story?”

I see the upside of doing this, but I also see the pain of opening old wounds. Have they healed? Or are they festering under the surface? What if mine are festering and their are healed? Is it cruel, selfish, to open up old wounds in others?

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