Today, a little grey cloud has settled over my soul. In a little encounter that seemed to happen in half a second, I greeted, then confused, then really offended a friend of mine. As he turned to run off to his class, I blurted an incoherent apology, then scurried up the steps of the building and headed for class.
I might as well have skipped class. As my favourite professor, whose class I’ve always found fascinating, expounded on his models of polysaccharides and phospholipids, I replayed the dialogue with my friend over and over again, kicking myself for every word I’d said. Really, Michelle?!?! Really?!?!
The encounter isn’t really what’s eating at me. In fact, my friend readily forgave me and agreed to get lunch later. The thing that’s eating at me is the fact that everything about me in that moment was exactly not who I want to be. I had justified myself to a human. I had panicked. I had failed to explain the meaning of something important to me. As I replayed the dialogue to myself for hours and hours, the more I was bothered by the proof that the Michelle I am is not the Michelle I want to be.
After nearly nine hours of turning over the encounter in my mind, I had a thought. How often do I think of an embarrassing moment from middle school, cringe, and think to myself, ‘Younger Michelle, what were you THINKING?!?!” How often do I tell a story from high school with the disclaimer, “I have grown up since then and would not do that again?” Why do we condemn the actions of our previous selves, when they seemed like a fine thing to do at the time? Well, we change, of course. We become more mature and more like the people we want to be.
Humans are programmed not to like change. Change is stressful and difficult, however, today I am indescribably grateful for the existence of change. The existence of change is the hope I have to become the Michelle I want to be. So as the sun sets in Northern Illinois, I begin to contemplate heading off to bed, where I will sleep today off and wake up re-energized and ready to chase down the Michelle I want to be.