I had a beautiful conversation with my friend M. today.
M. and I go a long way back, though we didn’t mean anything to each other in the first years of our acquaintance. We just happened to be taking the same major, in the same year, in the same university, and literally a decade had to pass before our paths crossed again.
We still joke about how far we’d strayed from the paths we’d both been expected to tread—all the applied mathematics we’d studied rendered superfluous beyond measure.
But that’s a different blog post altogether.
Today, M. and I talked about discarded selves (though that’s not the term we used in our conversation). “I used to be so…strong,” she told me wistfully, recalling an older, more assertive Amazonian self. “Now I don’t know where that version of me has gone.”
“It’s not gone,” I told her. “It’s just that life needed you to be something else for a while. Now, circumstances have changed again, and it’s time for you to retrieve your warrior self.”
“If it’s not gone, why is getting it back so hard?”
I thought for a moment. “I’m not sure if it’s the same with you, but in my case, there’s a philosopher self that I had to let go of when I opened the studio. The only way I could deal with the loss was to demonize that aspect of who I was—make it an enemy, make myself believe it was useless and indulgent. But lately, it’s been coming back. And I get that life’s giving me an opportunity now to re-integrate a self I had to discard. But I had to stop disparaging it first.”
M. smiled at me through her tears. “You know what? That’s exactly what I did. I demonized my warrior self too. Somewhere along the way, I started equating being strong with being alone.”
I smiled back at her. “We both needed to do what we needed to do to stay sane. Now, it’s time for us to give birth to new selves.”
She laughed. “I can’t wait to see how you turn out.”
I grinned. “Same to you. I’ll see you at the end of it, when the dust settles.”
Now, let the contractions begin.