Not this weekend but last, my parents and brother and sister went to a wedding. The groom is part of a family to which my family is very close. Tonight, I spoke with my dad and he said that everyone at the wedding who knew my family had asked him about me. This made me uncomfortable. I feel like those people know the person I used to be rather than who I am now. They are familiar with a more immature and socially unaware me who I work to change – and I have changed – and I don’t like it when people know the old me rather than the new. My father said that, though I have changed, my essence is still the same. He said that I can’t change myself and I’m still me. I understand his point and completely respect it, but it makes me feel uncomfortable. I wish I could change my essence. I wish that I could change everything about myself that I don’t like. I still work every day to change myself and I still believe in the possibility and necessity of change. I would do myself a disservice if I didn’t consciously and consistently work on myself and on transforming my interpersonal maturity and social personality.
I won’t lie and say that there aren’t times where I wish I could just relax, stop trying to change myself, stop being hyper-sensitive to criticism, stop caring what other people think about me and say about me and just ‘be’ myself. People say I have matured and I have really improved my interpersonal skills and social skills. I’ve got positive feedback from all the work I have done, and it pushes me to keep working harder and makes me more mindful that there is still work to be done. I’ve written before that we all work on ourselves, and it’s true. Even before I knew that I could cure myself of my impairment if I did enough of the correct work, I worked hard on myself. My mother used to say to me, ‘You’re not a self-improvement project,’ but it’s what I have become. I don’t like that my essence is still the same as it has always been. I would like it – along with everything else I have transformed – to be different.
Sometimes, I don’t know ‘what else I can do’ to make things different and make myself different. The work I do now is to listen to people, pay attention to them and what’s going on around me, accept and apply criticism without complaint, and remain mindful of my old habits and what I can do to correct them. I feel that all the work I have done is becoming more natural for me, more a part of my character, and easier to ‘use’ in my day to day life. I am a much better listener, I have better critical thinking skills, and I am much better at reading social cues. My previous unawareness and immaturity was not a direct result of my brain trauma or disability, but the sheltering and excusing I experienced as a child. I don’t blame the people around my for placing me in a bubble, but I work to break my way out of that bubble and become mature and acceptable. It sometimes hurts me knowing that I came to so many of these things ‘so late’ but I am very glad that I came into maturity at all and that I was made aware of my immaturity. If other people had not made me aware of my immaturity – and how it affects other people – I would not have changed myself. I’m just glad that I have been made aware, I can work on it, and I can remain aware and committed to change.
I read recently that my generation was raised with the belief that we are special and that we don’t have to work as hard as our parents did if we want the life we dream of. The article straight up noted that we need to stop believing that we are special. It made perfect sense to me, and I can fully admit that I grew up believing that I was special. Realizing that I wasn’t was a slap in the face and, to this day, is still sometimes like shell shock.
I am willing to keep working. I am willing to work on my physical self, social maturity, career trajectory, and all-around personal development. I am willing to work on my essence – even though I have told that it has remained the same – because I would like it to be different. I want to change myself and be the best version of myself I can be.