About Change

I caught myself humming this song in the morning.

Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good

Now you're expecting me talk about somebody whose presence in my life has left a permanent mark on my personality, changed me somehow.
Guess what - nope.

As I was singing this to myself I started pondering the lyrics and if they mean something to me personally. I thought about people in books and films and real life who have that one person - or sometimes even more than one - who has changed them. Is there such a person in my life? I know some amazing people, supportive people, irreplaceable people, people without whom I might not be standing at all (although technically I am lying on my bed at the moment). There are people who have been stuck with me since I was nine. There are people who have played such crucial parts in my past that I couldn't imagine a life without them.
There are also people who have caused me a lot of pain and anxiety, who have made my life difficult. Plain douchebags I know too.
Yes, a lot of more or less influential people.
But has any of them really changed me?

I have definitely learned a great many things from all kinds of people whose paths have crossed with mine. That might be considered as a change I suppose, but it's not exactly what I'm looking for. I'm not sure how to explain what I see as the key difference between learning from someone and being changed by them. I might be that in a way learning is always kind of active and stems from personal experience. Obviously I'm not talking about the kind of learning we do at school, or learning how to swim, but more abstract kind of learning. For example, synchronized skating taught me a lot about group dynamics and the inbuilt bitchiness of some teenage girls; I learned to hide certain things because letting them into light would have provoked even a bigger shitstorm of adolescent girl-hatred raging around me than was already there. In this case the behaviour of certain people affected me, but I wouldn't say that those people changed me. It was my interpretation of those circumstances that changed me - although, I could argue that there wasn't much of a change at all because everything, all of that insecurity, self-doubt and tendency to panic, was already there to start with.

So, now I don't actually know what being changed even means. Is it when you spend a lot of time with someone and slowly start seeing things - and possibly yourself - differently due to being influenced by their way of understanding the world? Or does it happen when you are going through a hard time and someone makes you see light at the end of the tunnel? I honestly don't know. I don't know if it's altogether possible to have such an impact on anyone. Can I be changed by another person?

Now don't get me wrong, as I stated, there are absolutely indispensable people in my life. People whom I love and respect over anything. But I do think that regardless of their amazing qualities and important lessons they've taught me, I have always been the same. Leaving the regular changes and mental growth most people experience during the first 21 years of their lives aside, I don't think I have really changed at all. When I look back I completely recognise myself in each phase and period of time. The people I'm surrounded with at any given moment always have and always will somehow modify the way I act outward, but that's just how any one of us deals with constantly evolving social environments. I believe that I'd still be more or less the same as I am now if I'd known different people in daycare, at school, in hobbies.
But I don't really know shit. Maybe I have been changed numerous times by other people and I just don't know it.

I do have to stress now that I dearly adore my friends even though I cannot be sure if knowing one or another of them has changed me for better or for worse. Every time I hear a person talking about somebody whose appearance in their life made something alter in them for good, I'm a little jealous because I think it would be totally great to be able to pinpoint a moment when everything went boom and my life shifted slightly to the left. Or if I had such an effect on someone else's life. For the better, preferably.

So, basically all of this went through my head as I was brushing my teeth and washing my face in the morning.

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