Overexposed: A Self-Love Project.

Overexposed: I’m A Chang(ed/ing) Person.

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I feared that I was a part of the small percentage of people that would never change.

I felt like everything that I did, no matter how much older and mature I got within my years, I always had the habits and traits that deemed me an unchangeable person. I could even take all the right turns to make the outcome different and prove the change within me, but nope – it would always come back to its roots. 

Maybe that thought process was the result of having someone in my life for a very long time point out the fact that my patterns, no matter how different they were, were always the same. They had me figured out every single time, and for a while, I thought their judgment on me was right.

Hi, my name is Liz, and it’s taking me a long time to realize that I am a chang(ed/ing) person.

If there’s one thing I know about myself, it’s that I’m not the same person I was when I was a teenager. I am not my eighteen, I am not my twenty-one, and I’m not even my twenty-five. Hell, I’m not even the twenty-six I was a couple of months ago. I’m not the teenage girl that got in between people’s relationships and kissed two different people in one day. I am not the 21-year-old that was losing herself all in her family drama. I’m not the 25-year-old that was just getting out of her decade-long relationship. I am also not the 26-year-old that I was a couple of months ago. It’s not not I’m not staying true to myself, it’s the fact that we are constantly changing, and if it’s done properly, it’s typically for the better.

For years, I felt like I had to prove myself to people on the fact that I was a changed person. It made me adapt to this idea that who I was was a villian, that she was this horrible person that deserves the world to just shit on her. Because of my past mistakes, I I felt like I was never allowed to outgrow that part of my life; I was constantly reminded that because of those actions of my past, they would always affect parts of my present and future, which I look back now and wish I was able to tell myself that was simply not true.

The dumb things I did at eighteen just happened; I was just a dumb, young, and naive person and my actions reflected off of that. Who didn’t do dumb shit in their teenage years? Better then than later in life, right? The things that I did when I was eighteen were not the same things that I did when I was in my early 20’s; sure I was still young and had some growing up to do, but at that point in life, I knew better and had a better sense of my morals. I guess the point I’m trying to make is that the beauty of changing coincides with the beauty of maturing. We change because we grow up.

Being 26, I never got the chance to allow myself to accept the fact that I grew up, I changed, and that it was okay that it was happening to me. Last year, it was okay that I grew out of the things and people that made me happy, it was okay that I wanted to start a new chapter in my life; it honestly just meant that I was changing, and a lot of that changing had to do with my soul.

My soul, despite me being ready or not, wanted me to recognize that I was a changed and changing person. I wasn’t the teenage girl anymore that tolerated a lot of things before. I wasn’t the shy, quiet girl in her early 20’s that had severe social anxiety. I was a person who was growing into her own, and learning about herself through the process. With therapy, a little bit of self-awareness, and just the uncontrollable change happening in my life, my changing was unavoidable. It was happening whether I wanted it to or not.

Even knowing that the person I am now wasn’t who and what I was in the past, I till had this inevitable fear that I will always be the bad things I hoped would change. That I was always going to sell myself short and find the love and support from people who will always put me second. I always feared that deep down within me, I was never a changed person, just someone who was good at hiding it.

Life tested me earlier this year when I met this guy while I was working at my job at the bookstore. This guy is one of our regulars; he would come in almost every day during his lunch break and we would engage in small talk. He had a good energy and vibe about him that I really liked, and for awhile I had a little crush on him. After putting my big girl pants on and gave him my Instagram to follow, we started to communicate on there. So whatever, I’m all giddy and I’m flirting like crazy, until he mentions that he has a serious girlfriend. Sure, that sucked for a quick moment, and in the back of my mind, I thought about the times I intervened in other people’s relationships despite knowing they were in them when I was younger. For a slight moment, I thought about that part of my life; I thought “how the hell am I supposed to be friends with a guy that I’m really into that’s in a relationship without being too flirty or open?” At first, that transition was hard. I found myself sharing a lot about myself and being flirty when I knew it was wrong, and it wasn’t until I reflected back on what I was doing that made me realize I was more than this. I deserved to be someone’s first. I deserved my own special kind of love. My self-worth is a lot more visible than it was when I was younger.

That’s when I knew I was a chang(ed/ing) person.

This guy and I are now really good friends. We have a shit ton in common and he’s someone I really enjoy talking about music with, passion projects, and just philosophical things about life. As time passed on, I now see him as a friend; it’s strange because I feared that my demiromantic side would fall for him once I got to know him better, but honestly I value the platonic aspect of our friendship. We support each other, we root for each other in our own individual crafts, and just have a normal ass friendship. I was able to change the narrative of a story that went down the same path one too many times. I was able to have control of my actions and do the right thing, in all honesty. It’s so easy to go back into old habits that were not healthy; the real challenge is to stop yourself from slipping into that old habit again.

I know it seems like it’s common sense, but doing something like that truly let me know that I’m capable of changing and being a changed person. I am able to recognize a pattern or behavior that I’m familiar with and just now know better. Doing what I did in this situation also helped me put some of my worries away; I will not let what happened 8 years ago come back around and happen again, because I grew up, and I am a changed person.

So here’s to always evolving in life. Here’s to looking back and see the changes you made in your life to make it better and to live it healthier. Here’s to the fact that it’s okay to always be constantly changing; as long as you remain true to who you are, that’s all that matters.

What remains true to me will always be the reason why I am forever changing.

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