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Change Just Hurts


A lot has changed for me in the past year or so. I’ve gotten a job, learned how to drive, found my own personal style, written too much, realized some potential careers, lost a lot of things. It’s been a hard year. Panic-filled, change-filled, mental-illness-filled, all the other -filleds. Especially after a hard month like this February, the drowning-feeling of not being able to keep up with the change is coming back to my chest, and sometimes it feels too heavy, like it’s going to pull me under for good.

That’s just putting it in a poetic light. In simple terms: change is overwhelming.

Really overwhelming. When I was younger I had schoolwork and two friends and other acquaintances and books to read and movies to watch and that was it, that was life. It made sense. It didn’t require paying for things. I didn’t have to navigate the complexities of good friendships. My battle with mental illness back then, when it was present, involved hugs from parents and watching Disney movies and not having to do anything for several days on end. There were hard times, I’m sure, but they were easily resolved, and they made sense, in the grand scheme of things. The more I grow up and the more things change it’s easy to look back at that and feel like it was better.

I was better off before we moved states, 

I was better off when I was still friends with this person,

It was better before I had a job,

It was better before insert anything else here.

Change, we think, is bad, especially when we’re over-fond of romanticizing the past. A simpler time or a happier time = a better time, one we really should go back to if we can. For me, especially, it’s difficult: I’m a person of habit. I like things to stay the same for the most part. I like schedules and traditions to be consistent and when they’re not, my whole world is thrown off-balance. (Recently I painted my room for the first time. It was a good change, but it brought on a solid week of crying and chest-shattering panic and not sleeping and some urges I wish hadn’t returned.)
In case it’s not perfectly clear to you, I’m not so good with change.

“Change is good!” says the internet, the self-help articles and the quotes you cross-stitch and put up on your wall for the #aesthetic. “Change is best for you!” say the pretty typography quotes on Pinterest that you put on ‘Inspiration’ boards. (You’ve done it, I’ve done it, we’re all guilty of that, let’s be real here for a moment.) I think we all know by now that change is often for the better. It’s not bad. It shapes us. We know because movies and songs and inspirational quotes and articles tell us so, and everyone persists in telling us so, so I don’t think I need to repeat it. I don’t need to write a blog post about how change is helpful even when it’s scary and you just have to find the positive in things.
What’s hard is the in-between where the change has happened, but it isn’t good yet. Maybe you know the truth about it mentally. Maybe you know it’s going to help you.
Maybe that just hasn’t sunk in yet and you’re not seeing any proof.

If you, like me, are tired; if you don’t want this change yet, if you’re having a hard time reminding yourself of what everyone and their mother is telling you in a cheerful bubbly voice, if you don’t want to wait for change to get better, if it’s anxiety-inducing and scary and painful and not good right in the moment, this is my great big internet hug to you.

The in-between is the worst part. The pre-results is the worst part.
But you’re not alone in it. Give yourself a deep breath.

You are not obliged to feel happy and positive in the middle of change. (Though attitude is important.) You’re not obliged, either, to always feel the way you should, or sound like a greeting card. You’re allowed to feel the hurt of it. Please, feel the hurt of it. Let yourself adjust to change. Let yourself react. It’s a painful process, because it’s always painful to bend. You’re going to be better for it...but in the moment, it just sucks.

Let it suck.
Be in the moment.

Allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling, and then get up and keep going anyway.

Change is a process. A long, messy process that doesn’t feel like it’s supposed to. I can’t say when you’ll adjust or when the change will pay off. But I can tell you to hang in there. This is a note to self more than a note to anyone else. Hang in there.

To be cheesy and stereotypical for a moment: change is making you better. I promise.

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