Unless we're talking about the unwelcomed pimples on my face, growth never happens overnight. It's hard to have a goal, and watch it almost seem to fade away as if all the work we put into reaching it is leading to no direction. Growth shows itself in many forms- the stubborn weight that decided to stay longer than it was welcomed, finally falling off by the pound. Or, the ability to say "no" after years of shaking just at the thought of the word being said. We can't permanently change our thoughts after simply deciding to do something differently, just like we can't have a six-pack of abs implanted into our abdomen. Growth takes constant work, determination, and a willingness to look past the obstacles that somehow always find a way on our paths to becoming a better person.
Growth is painful. It sounds cliche to say that, but it's absolutely true. In light of recent events, I've learned something about myself- I've become closer to the person I've longed to become. High school was a rough time for me, and if anyone is a fellow Shark alumni, you know exactly what I'm writing about. I was immature, too loud, and flat out annoying. I tried my best to make people laugh, and didn't stop until I realized that I was more so embarrassing myself than making anyone else find what I was saying funny. Those traits followed me into my time in the Navy, and bluntly I ruined many possible friendships that I could have had.
Growth doesn't allow you to look past what you did as just the "past you", but it forces you to see the things you did that were wrong.
Growth forces you to face the things you want so deeply to run from. If I said I wasn't writing this on a hurting and confused heart, I'd be a liar. You can open your home to someone, just for them to turn around and try to place their pain and suffering onto yourself, as if everything you did for them never even happened.
But growth, growth is a beautiful thing to replay in your mind.
As painful as it is to remember the things you've done, remembering that those moments were the last time you decided to make those choices reminds you of how far you've come. Just last month, I placed a boundary on someone I felt was not contributing to anything pleasant in not only my life, but in my wonderful relationship. It was terrifying because I really felt like I was not giving this person a chance- but I had to remember that chances have limits. Growing into the person I am taught me this, and even though it was hard and painful in the end- it saved me from experiencing the deeper anger and resentment I would have had towards them.
Growth was the true smile on my boyfriend's face as we danced in Lake Tahoe after a few drinks, enjoying the live music and the lively energy floating around the room. It was smiling at each other after hearing the terrible things said to us, over the years, and especially in the past two months- knowing that we've become best friends over the extended time we've been together, and most importantly knowing that nothing can, or at this point will ever come between us.
I've been through many things, but I will never stop wanting to grow- maybe not width wise, but mentally speaking. The person I want to be isn't here yet, and honestly she may keep running farther from me to push me to only become better. But life, and growth- isn't about the end goal. It's about the path there.