I’ve changed. Or so they say. I’ve moved away from small-town New Prague and I’ve changed.

Now, I don’t really know what is meant by that comment, but I’ve thought about it, and here’s the best answer that I can give you.

Changed.Living in small-town New Prague, my parents always stood by me and encouraged me to do and be more. My dad traveled my entire life and, because of that, I got a small taste of what stood beyond the lakes of my friendly state. My mom never let me settle with my first choices. She’d question me about everything until I wasn’t too sure what my first decision was in the first place. My whole childhood I was affected by my parents, their choices, beliefs, values, and their personal change. Whatever affected my parents, it affected me.

Encouraged to go to college, but within reasonable distance to home, I ended up at the College of Saint Benedict. Over the next four years, I adapted to those around me. I became closer to my best friend Tierney, so much that we could read each other’s minds. I was influenced by the feminist pride, the “go green” ethics, and movements with social injustice. If anything affected my college, it affected me too.

Over my years, I have been affected by those closest to me and my local surroundings. So, how have I actually changed?

Changed.In personality? I thought I was still friendly and social…

In appearance? That can’t be right because I still have zit scars on my face and still debate if I’ve put on weight every other day…

In beliefs? As far as I am aware, I’m still a Christian…

In morals and values? Respect everyone in all shapes and sizes, and never lose touch with your family…

Being told that I’ve changed isn’t a compliment. If anything, it’s pressure to re-evaluate what I’ve done to affect someone’s opinion of me. On Sunday, a kind woman laid her hand on my shoulder and said, “Aly, I have a word for you. Grow. You have not changed, you have grown.”

Yes, yes I have. Grow. That I have done! Perhaps I’ve grown in ways others don’t like, but I am proud of my growth. I’ve worked hard to have a voice, to stand up to those who have put me down, to not cry in frustration with others, and to have big ideas and work to achieve them. There is no limit in my eyes, so I work hard and push myself to grow in order to live a full life.

So my question to you is: When you look at me, have you seen me change or grow?


One thought on “Changed.

  1. Grown up Aly!

    You will always be my niece who loves to learn and play. A true beauty!

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