When People Don’t Want You To Change

by P. Braithwaite


The other day I went to dinner with some friends from grad school. It’s interesting, with all of my life changes and transitions, sometimes graduate school feels like it happened years ago.

This time last year, I was finishing my thesis. It’s only been a year.

Anyway, we met at this odd little Russian restaurant that masquerades as a burger joint and feasted on puréed egg plant, garlic fries and sausage bits.

The conversation flowed easily, and naturally turned to the topic of writing — the one thing we all have in common.

“You working on anything?”

I cringed. I “work” on my blog like its a full-time job. I write SOMETHING every single day whether I feel like it or not. I’m the protagonist of my own life, delving deeply to find anecdotes and experiences to share. This is basically an experimental memoir. Lol

I don’t think my MFA friends get that. I’m not quite sure that blogging is a literary genre.

“Nah,” I glanced at my plate. “Not really.”

There is a bit of silence. My friend’s voice drops a bit.

“You will write fiction again, tho…right?” He adds. “You’re such a strong fiction writer. You have to.”

“We’ll see.”

Sometimes people don’t want you to change. It’s not because they’re mean or anything like that. Sometimes, when you’ve shown up a certain way for so long, people aren’t sure that you can be anything else. People get attached to labels and ideas: coach, novelist, teacher, friend. But everything is subject to change.

George Bernard Shaw sums it up best: “The only man I know who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew each time he sees me. The rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them.”

Truthfully, I don’t know if I’ll ever write a novel. Maybe I’ll wake up tomorrow and write an entire series. I do know I’m a writer tho, every moment of my life. I went to a reading over the weekend and, for the first time in a year, I had the urge to write something that wasn’t inspired by the truth.

Only time will tell who I am becoming.

So, as we’re bumbling along, collecting
stories, and figuring things out, it’s important to stay compassionate for your ever changing vision. We’re all infinitely creative — changing with he movements of every passing day. So don’t worry. Sometimes people don’t want you to change, but most often, they’ll come around. They just want to experience you at your best.

How are you changing and growing? Are you feeling the pull of people who want you to stay the same?