It’s always amazing how just a few minutes, a few words, a few people can make you revert to ways that you were years ago.

I know it’s a psychological phenomenon, but it never ceases to amaze me. 

Mostly, it never ceases to make me question myself.

I look at the growth I’ve made in the past 5 years. 4 years. 3 years. 2 years. 1 year. 6 months. 6 weeks.

5 years ago I was a sophomore in high school. I had just begun taking private saxophone lessons and got the horn I still play on. I had a different setup, but my teacher could only pride in the strides I’d made in such a short time. I had changed drastically as a player. I was dating Ben. I was alienated from my “friends” and things never really were the same with them after that. I wasn’t one to blindly follow without thinking of my own stance on something for a little bit. I also wasn’t as judgmental of people as the girls I hung around. They didn’t take too kindly to that, so I became a target. I became closer to the guys I still consider to be my best friends. I experienced my first break-up. It hurt, especially because we were so close and it just simply wasn’t working. 

4 years ago I was a junior in high school. I had my first audition for All-State. I grew as a player, but I was horribly underprepared. I dated my second boyfriend, which was not a…. eh… it was what it was and nothing more. I became closer with some people but learned not to trust those who had hurt me before. I learned how to play the clarinet as we had 3 clarinets in my high school band. I learned to be happy being single and that I didn’t need someone all the time. It was a good year with minimal conflict and enjoying the company of those around me. I received one of the two best compliments I have ever received. I cried because of it. 

3 years ago I was a senior in high school. I was arrogant and bossy. I was in charge. I enjoyed being in charge and having responsibility. I was overconfident in my abilities without putting in the effort. I did well in school. I started dating Sean. I auditioned for All-State again and fell one short for making the cut. I was hurt and scared that colleges wouldn’t accept me. I auditioned for my potential colleges. I received scholarship offers from every school except the one I wanted to go to. I still went there. And that has both destroyed me and given me more than I could have ever asked. 

2 years ago I was a freshman in college. My eyes were wide and I was open to the world around me. I closed myself off when things began to take a turn for the worse. I was diagnosed with general anxiety disorder. I made new friends. Some have stayed, some have gone. I changed majors and underwent a huge identity crisis that is still with me to this day. I experienced another heartbreak with Sean. We eventually got back together due to my inability to be alone. I fell for the guy who I am with currently. He fell for someone else. I let that heartbreak go, but the ache never subsided. It still haunts me, especially because she still haunts me. 

1 year ago I was a sophomore in college. I was diagnosed with clinical depression. I hoped that I would find someone to make me whole. I discovered how wrong that was and tried to make myself whole. I don’t think I ever really succeeded. I experimented with drugs, both prescription and nonprescription on the occasion. I broke more times than I care admit. I let substance control me. I wasn’t safe with myself and became reckless. Each time I did, my self-hatred grew. I became closer with those in my studio and grew confidence in my saxophone playing. I received the second best compliment I had ever received indirectly. I cried then, too. 

6 months ago I was beginning my junior year in college. I entered into one of the best and worst years I have experienced yet. I was section leader of my section for marching band. My peers broke me. I broke. I shattered completely. So much so, my doctor hospitalized me. It was not by my choice. I went on a wild ride with Calvin. He threw me around as his mind shifted between his own heartbreak and his desire with me. I still don’t know what was going on through his brain during that whole ordeal. I was able to convince him somehow to be with me. He has changed me so much in more ways than I care to admit. He has made me happy for the first time in such a long time. He has made me care more about myself which is something I desperately needed. I have become more dependent upon him, yes, but I have also undergone much personal growth. Some people think it’s all because of him. While he was the catalyst, much of it now is by my own desire for my own self. I do things because I like to. I like feeling beautiful. I feel better when I wear clothes that look nice on me or when I wear makeup. Sure, it takes more time, but I realize that the effort creates a much better affect on my wellbeing. Screw laziness. I’m a whole new person.

I’m still a mess. I’m still a work in progress. I will never be finished until I die.

But I can say with confidence now, with so much more confidence than I had 6 months ago, that I won’t be going anywhere any time soon. 

I am here. I am growing and don’t know where I’m growing to. But there’s a beauty in not caring about that because I will never know. I can’t know. I can’t plan. I will just keep going and living until something or someone calls me someday. 

There is so much beauty, so much terrifying beauty in not knowing. And all there is to do is grow into that unknown. 

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