It's not the way it used to be, is it?
You're not the way you used to be.
Lately, you've started to realize that you don't feel like yourself. You don't laugh quite as loudly. Your smile doesn't reach your eyes as effortlessly. You walk with a shade more of self-awareness, talk with a little less personality. And if someone were to ask you for three adjectives to describe you, the words you'd choose would describe the you of one, two, or three years ago, but not now.
You look at old photographs and wonder where that girl went. The one who everyone expected the best from. The one who was charming and intelligent and full of energy. Lately, you've found that you've let yourself go.
Lately, you've found that while you were in the wash of life, you let it wash over you. Consume you. Dissolve you.
You used to be a light. A light that, at some indiscernible, irreversible moment amidst the chaos of life, burned out. And now that you're just a shadow of who you used to be, it's hard to fight that pervasive ache of disappointment that hovers over you like a ghost, haunting the aftermath of every choice you make and noting, "The old you wouldn't do that."
It's hard to not feel utterly confused about how you ended up here. It's hard to not be ashamed of how you lost control of yourself, let yourself slip through your fingers.
But here's the thing that we're so quick to forget:
It's okay to not be able to fit your entire being into three adjectives. It's okay to not be a finished product. It's okay to love the person you once were—put-together, powerful, seemingly-perfect—and find yourself back at square one. You were bound to change. You are bound to keep changing.
You were never meant to stay in the same place, like the same music, love the same people, have the same goals, believe the same things. Be the same person. You were never meant to be stagnant. This world will not cease to spin on its axis. The cells in your body will not cease to regenerate. And you, too, will not cease to fall apart and fall back into place and grow and go on. You were never meant to be a fixed point in a transient constellation because you are ever-changing.
So don't be shattered or scared by the moments of your day where you don't recognize yourself. Maybe you'll never be who you once were. But that just means you're in the process of becoming someone stronger and brighter and more complex. You are simply building a better version of yourself. And that's okay. You're okay.
You can be a work in progress and a masterpiece, all at once.
I leave you with the understanding that it is normal to lose yourself every now and then, with the faith that you'll find yourself again, and with this:
"For a star to be born
there is one thing that
must happen: a gaseous
nebula must collapse.
This is not your
This is your birth.”