There was once a girl who grew up in a very conservative family. One might venture to say she lived a somewhat sheltered life, although to say she was naive would not be quite accurate. She went to college and met all sorts of interesting people. All these different people – from small towns, the East coast and beyond… those who drank and/or smoked pot, those who did not… athletes, scholars, musicians… bookworms and slack-asses, gays and straight – all of these different people and their personalities helped mold and form this girl into a different person than she used to be. She took in the influence of their personalities, habits and passions to make her own decisions, form her own opinions and create a newer version of herself. After four years, she liked the person she’d become. She was more comfortable in her own skin and genuinely enjoyed her own company if no one else was around. She listened to music that spoke to her. She watched indie movies, where the cast members were relatively unknown, yet the story was incredibly powerful. She was creative and wrote from her heart.
And now she’s gone.
Oh, she still comes around now and then… here and there. But she isn’t here like she used to be. By now, the 20-odd years that have passed have been filled with even more people and experiences that have molded and shaped her into yet another version of herself. The younger version of the girl could be best imagined as the rocky face of a cliff – with definite depth, areas that jut out and force themselves against a clear blue sky in an announcement, “Look at this part of me!” As the wind and rain, all the elements can weather and change the rocky surface, she has changed. By now she is perhaps not so brash or bold against a blue sky, but smoothed over. A surface that is still strong, yet softer in its silhouette.
The girl – now a woman – now thinks more before speaking, has been made wiser through experience and never underestimates anyone anymore. She rarely trusts anyone unless they have proven that they can be trusted. She now has a much smaller “inner circle” of friends, where she used to take pride in the many she counted as close friends. Betrayal will make a person do that.
Every now and then, the woman will catch a glimpse of the girl – sparked by a word, a lyric a melody – and she will want to bring parts of that life back. Not to take over and change her life; rather to create a more complete version of who she is now -- to get back to her “roots.” And when she does this, she can share it with those who are important in her life now, so she can once again say, “Look at this part of me!” and hope they appreciate and love that as much as she does.