I find it fascinating to look at the Instagram pages of people I went to middle school and high school with. Everyone obviously looks different, but everyone has also stepped into new personalities and developed an online image that’s so different from who they were on Facebook in 10thgrade. Some people are Instagram models, some people are married with kids, and other people are traveling all over the world. I’ve seen people who are very politically charged and others who have started their own blogs and YouTube pages (thanks for the inspiration guys!). I love it.
I’ve changed a lot since I graduated high school. When I first started college, I was shocked at how painfully homogenous the campus was. It was 80% white people. That’s not an exaggeration, that’s a statistic from the university’s website in 2014 when I started. Although I was very vocal about how much I didn’t like the extreme lack of diversity, I also was pretty vocal about my dating preferences. It makes me cringe to think about it now, but I had a strong preference for white men. I also wore a lot of makeup. I would get up two hours before class to do a full face for my GCOM class. I shared a lot of uneducated opinions and I made no effort to get involved in anything during my first year. My grades were average, I had a pessimistic outlook, and I hated living in a dorm. By the time I graduated, I was a new person and I was embarrassed of who I was during my freshman year.
When I graduated from college, I had completely changed. I had gotten involved in several organizations, learned a new language, stopped wearing excessive makeup (the only thing I wore on most days was lip gloss), and I learned so much about our country’s justice system and how I wanted to change it. I dated men of almost every race during college, studied abroad, and I made myself comfortable on campus through the things I got involved in. I never got used to being around so many white people, but I don’t think that’s an environment anyone should have to get used to that. It’s not normal. I was also a more positive person and I did my best to encourage my friends and anyone I knew who was accomplishing big things. I won awards, challenged myself, and got straight As my last semester in school.
In the year since I graduated, I still feel like I’ve made some pretty significant changes. When I was in school, I was pretty focused on getting shit done. I had two guys that I claimed as boyfriends throughout my four years, but both relationships were long-distance and both were pretty short-lived. I was cynical about love after watching other people go through tumultuous relationships while in school. I also didn’t have a grounded relationship with God. I was ambitious and I prayed whenever I wanted something, but I didn’t feel confident in my faith. Today, I love being in love. I won’t be discussing my relationship much here, but I can say that my cynicism about relationships has melted away. I also pray every day and keep a journal (more on this in the first podcast episode). Today I think I’ve reached a good balance of being ambitious and being spiritually and emotionally whole.
That’s a pretty big turnaround, right? I’ve been constantly developing and changing my understanding of who I am every year. Someone who knew me from my freshman year of college would probably never guess that I turned out to be who I was when I graduated, or who I am today. My story is unique to me, but everyone has a story like that. Whether you lost 40 pounds and now prioritize a healthy lifestyle, or you dropped out of school and now own your own business, everyone is allowed to change. Everyone who’s trying to be successful at something is probably tryingto change. That’s the point of today’s post: When you see somebody trying to be great, let them.
Tell me if you’ve experienced this: you’re talking about the kind of person you are today, about how you’re mature, and you don’t care about other people’s business, and someone whose known you for a long time brings up that you didn’t always used to be like that. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been reminded by everyone that Iused tolike white guys, or that I wore so much makeup five years ago. But I’d also be lying if I said I haven’t done the same. I still do it in my mind sometimes. When you’ve been friends with people through their many transitions, you have to embrace their changes. It can be hard, but if you don’t like the changes then break off the friendship. No one wants to be around someone who’s constantly trying to remind them of who they were in the past. Let your friends be great.
I don’t know what it is about today’s society, but it’s almost like we don’t want people to change. If somebody tweeted something insensitive five years ago, we think that we should still hate them for it today. If they apologize, we say that it’s not genuine. We act like we should punish people for the rest of their lives for making a mistake. So they’re supposed to do better, but when they try to we don’t want to accept that either? The cycle of hate on the Internet makes no sense to me. People will find fault in everyone if they look hard enough, but then post about how they’re evolving and becoming better people. Let’s not be hypocritical. Everyone is allowed to change, and everyone should encourage positive change in others.
I haven’t maintained friendships with hardly anyone I went to high school with, but I do follow a lot of them on Instagram. The vast majority of them are doing great. I also follow a few people I went to college with, and they’re doing big things too. I’m excited for all of you guys!I don’t think there’s a limit on the number of people who are allowed to improve and be great, and seeing people chase their dreams is inspirational. If I can offer a piece of unsolicited advice to everyone, it’s that we shouldn’t hold people’s past over their heads. If they’re trying to change, our response shouldn’t be to bring up how terrible they were so many years ago. People who are peaceful, positive, and productive are always developing into their best selves, and we should always get excited when we see other people trying to do the same.
What do you guys think about this? Why is it hard for us to let people move on from their past? Do you have difficulty moving on from your own past? What changes have you seen in yourself since you finished high school? Talk to me on Instagram @purplediarypod or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, I’m always open to blog post ideas, so DM me or email me with your ideas!
Thank you guys so much for coming back to read another post. I’m think I’m gonna shoot for three posts a week, so check back soon to see what’s new!