Recently my cousin told me about an analogy she heard.
Imagine you are standing still with your arms outstretched. Your hands are linked on both sides with someone else's hands.
On your right is a version of yourself from the past. On your left, a version from the future.
The idea is that no one moment in time is strong enough to break the chain that is you. You are infinite.
I'd like to expand this idea. Maybe certain versions of yourself are in greater quantity. For example, maybe it took you longer to grow through a certain experience, so there are a larger number of that version of yourself.
So, maybe those times have a greater impact in the bigger picture. When change is so small you can't really notice it in the moment. The days are long, but the years are short.
I've found that those versions of myself, the ones that are undergoing major changes over time that might not be readily noticeable, are the ones that are dying to be seen the most. I'm in the middle of one of these chapters. This is a chapter where I am solidifying my own philosophies and strengthening the foundation that I want to carry me for the rest of my life. In the last year I've gone through rejection of all sorts. People have rejected me, medical schools have rejected me. But most of all, I have rejected a version of myself. One that didn't understand that she needed to be seen. To be known, deeply.
My grip with my past and future self is what keeps me motivated. Right now I am struggling with the "remember when" narrative. I keep reminiscing to try and feel less uncomfortable with all the newness I'm experiencing now. Sometimes it feels easier to escape to the past than live in the present because nostalgia is a powerful drug. Though I am feeling challenged by the decisions I have made, I know that who I am will help me get through it. Instead of mourning who I was and where I've been, I should remember that I get to take those versions with me. My chain is strong and full of resources, and so is yours.
Humanity is such a community effort.
Though each of our stories are different, our self-chains look completely different, but the experiences all run on a common thread. There is something ridiculously peaceful about this thought. When I feel lonely, isolated, lost...I think about a woman somewhere in the world going through similar difficulties as me. I give her empathy. I give her patience. I give her love. And then, it makes me feel seen. By myself and by each person growing and becoming better versions of themselves just like me, around the world.
The point of this post is to offer encouragement. If you are going through a tough time, or are feeling pushed out of your comfort zone, know that you are never alone. You are seen and supported by your past, present, and future.
(Also, how cool are these exhibits by Wonderspaces? I recently went to the exhibit with a friend and fell in love with the environment. Perfect for reflection and inspiration.)