“Change is the only constant in life.”—Heraclitus, Greek philosopher
There is a tendency to lose oneself with any change, for death is a natural part of the process of change itself. And during the past four years there has been a lot of change (and therefore little deaths) in my life:
- Moving across the country from the West to the East Coast (and moving to three different homes while living here)
- Completing my first novel and joining the publishing industry
- Starting Bright Line Eating as a lifestyle (which would eventually culminate in losing 70 pounds)
- Having my breasts reduced from an L to a C cup
Each change took a variable amount of time. The move was a whirlwind two months. The second lasted about two years. The third took about nine months to be complete and the final change was finished in 4 short hours. A profound shift in space followed by a consuming shift of focus and culminating in an absolute shift of form.
During all this change, whilst little parts of me were dying on every side, I began to lose track of who I was.
I’ve written about this loss of self before, as well as my decision to find myself again, specifically in regards to my weight loss and breast reduction (if you don’t know what I’m talking about or haven’t read this already, go to Myth of After on my author website to catch up) and have no intention of repeating what has already been said.
These words today are to consider what I’m seeing about the natural process of change itself and what that means to we meager human beings (and human doings…and human havings).
Every time there is a change—even if it is a remarkable change and one that I wanted or worked hard to achieve—bits of who I once was (or who I thought myself to be) were lost or died in the process.
And so there is an ongoing grieving and sense of loss with every change, even the very best changes imaginable (like marriage or a new baby).
Beginning with the move across country and continuing throughout the changes over these past four years—even though they have all been remarkable changes that I wanted and am supremely thankful for—I have found myself progressively more and more internally adrift. Losing what was to make space for all this new. Missing the familiar connections that change tore apart in order to forge new ones.
This morning was the first time in four long years that I woke up feeling like myself again.
As though the home we’ve created is mine.
Like a life filled with writing and working in publishing is what I do.
That this small body with tiny breasts is me.
Today is the first morning since beginning my new job that I’ve returned to writing for myself.
Only today did I actually experience that the holiday season is upon us.
Just yesterday was the first time that all the fashion advice, research, and books I’ve been reading—all the clothes that I’ve bought, the time I’ve spent trying to make this altered body feel like me, trying to find my personal style and who I am on the other side of skinny—only when I got dressed yesterday for work did I finally feel, from head to toe, that this new body, these new breasts, this new style is, in fact, my own.
And I’ve realized something about change and the little deaths that accompany it:
You can’t rush the process.
Cycles and circles and spirals take time, and every part of a cycle of change serves a purpose and is necessary to reach the final culmination of fully experiencing the change itself.
What often feels like life’s never-ending and ever-spiraling often overwhelming cycles of change only feel that way for one of three reasons—
- We need more time to process the change
- We need to fully release what we’ve lost
- We need to totally embrace what is
We’re not really pursuing happiness, we long for the fullness of experience—at the end of it all, we want our cycles to be full, not flat. The reason we resort to fixating on our mental or emotional experiences so often is that we use our thoughts to explain why reality is or isn’t what we wish it to be and we use our emotions to fill in the emptiness and voids that are a part of the cycle of change itself.
What is old must die to make space for the new to come.
If change is the only constant, and life is change, then the secret to being fully alive and awake in one’s life isn’t success or happiness, but fulfillment.
Full. Fill. Meant.
A full cycle that fills a person’s life with meaning.
Now, I know that “ment” is a suffix meaning “a resulting state,” which would mean the resulting state of being fully filled. That works, too, but for my purposes, I’m sticking with my own definition:
It’s only in these moments when we fully pervade the filling of the voids that change has wrought in our lives and see what it means for us that we become fulfilled.
Today, I have at last found fulfillment on the other side of all this change.