all along I’ve been new like this

how am I not myself?

“I’m not myself,” I said to him for many weeks while I was not myself. I meant I was unhappy.

“Maybe you’ve changed,” he said. That’s when I should have known.

I had changed, because change is life, but I had also not changed. And since then I’ve changed a lot, but I’m also resolutely me. There is something gobsmacking about thinking I’ve come so far and learned so much and then finding something—a picture, a memory, a scrap of a journal—that reminds me I’ve always been this way, and I’ve always struggled with what I struggle with.

It’s liberating and hilarious, seen in the right light. It’s human.

I’ve always been insecure, prone to solo wandering and wishing things were slightly different. Uncertain of quite what I want and how to be someone with a niche, because niche-people are people who know they are themselves.

But how am I not myself?

Here’s something I found that I wrote more than seven years ago:

“I’ll be John Grisham if I have to. I’ll be the John Grisham of environmental and administrative law…Someday I’ll find what makes me tick…As I get more in touch with what I’m feeling, I notice it’s all anger. Ablaze at all times, and I feed it with my schizophrenic chats to myself as I bike down the road, scowling at those who watch me, like how dare you interrupt us, we are clearly busy.”

I would have thought the great awakening to anger didn’t happen until 2019 or so. But I guess I’ve always been angry, and I’ve always been surprised that I’m always angry, and now I’m surprised that I’m surprised.

But how am I not myself?

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