• Alyssa Piperis

I'm Not Who I Was One Year Ago.

I was talking to some coworkers the other day about the ups and downs of life. One woman shared that she looks at life as a series of chapters. I shared that I look at it as a string of seasons. You have your warm and cozy seasons, your glaringly cold seasons, your mixed seasons, and your well-balanced seasons. Chapters, seasons, whateva! There’s some of everything.

Thinking back to this time last year, my heart hurts for where my heart was then. I was in such a transitional time, in a lot of emotional pain post-breakup, and I felt so lost it became almost physically painful. That being said… I’m so happy to be where I am now.

I’m so happy to be in the midst of a different season of my life.

I know there are plenty of people right now who are, more or less, where I was at this time last year, and my heart goes out to all those people. The roles will switch up here and there, and that’s both the beautiful and troubling thing about life.

It’s crazy to think about the seasons of our lives and how this current stage of my life—with me as a single person with two roommates in Los Angeles and a job as a server in a restaurant—may end at any time. But, this is my life right now. And I’m so thankful to be happy in it. I’m finally feeling single for real…sortive. I think when you get out of a relationship, like I had just done this time last year, it takes you a while to see yourself as a single person again. To feel like a single person. You kind of have to figure out how to live without the comfort of a romantic partner—this person you spent all this time loving and sharing things with and lying next to—and it’s a weird mix of devastating and empowering. It definitely was that for me last year, and I still feel both of those things a year later.

As much as I thought I was this confident person and wonderful girlfriend in my last relationship, I’ve realized throughout the last year that I wasn’t fully myself. I was, but I was’t. I was confident in a lot of ways, and I was a great girlfriend and partner and support system, but I wasn’t the me I am now. I wasn’t this better version of myself.

This last year has been such a year of change for me. I often stop and think to myself, Holy shit, I’ve come into my own in such a huge way. I recently got together with a friend I hadn’t seen in a couple years, and he could feel the change. He could feel my confidence and ownership of who I am in a way neither he nor I felt it before. A few years ago, when I was between apartments, I crashed at his place and we would stay up super late talking about our past relationships and dreams. And when I met up with him this time, I had this feeling of, Wow, I thought I knew who I was then, but I had so much growing to do. I still have growing to do. I will always have growing to do. But this year has been a huge year of that.

I’ve always had a pretty strong sense of who I am, or maybe more who I know I can be, and I think I’ve become that so much in this last year. I’m so proud of myself and my independence. I will admit, I get a little nervous that I’ve developed almost too strong a sense of independence. I do so much on my own by choice, and I don’t always let others in on what I’m doing, because I love my solo adventures so dang much. And I know that’s not a bad thing, but I’ve come to want to go to concerts alone, even though friends tell me they’d love to come with me. I think being alone helps me stay grounded and makes me more approachable to others, and I want to be open to new people and experiences that challenge me and my comfortability.

In thinking about my two serious relationships, I feel like both of my exes wouldn’t really recognize me now. I’m just in such a better place than I was before, in general and with each of them. Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t need those two people—my two exes—to be what I judge my progress and growth off of, but because my past relationships have shaped so much of who I am, I can’t help but judge myself based off of who I was in those relationships. First and foremost, I have to live with myself and love who I am. And I do. But there’s no shame in admitting that we need others, or that my desire for deep romantic love keeps me in check also. This desire helps me push myself out of my comfort zone and work to be my best self so that I have endless love to give and know that I deserve the same in return.

I have so much love for the versions of myself I was in my past relationships, but I’m a different version of myself now. And I’ve worked really hard to become this person. I’m going to keep working hard to build off of this.

I feel so good about where I am right now, and there’s this fire within me that I always had inside of me but couldn’t find or channel properly. Welllll, y’all: I’ve fuckin’ found it! And I’mma be usin’ it.

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