People always *say* they change.
The truth is, changing who you choose to be is actually very, very difficult.

In order to change, you almost need to totally forget your past.
Your mistakes, other people’s mistakes, life’s mistakes.
All of it.
If you carry any of that history around, with a shred of concern for what happened to you ‘before’, change is almost impossible.
I speak from experience :
I’ve had a handful of events in my life that have caused me to reflect deep enough that I decided ..
decided ..
to try to become a better person.

I’m more communicative about my feelings, and my needs.
I’m better at admitting when I fuck up.
I’m more aware of how others walk through life.
And I try, nowadays, to always walk through my own with kindness.
It isn’t easy, but I’ve made the conscious choice to be better.
It *really* isn’t easy .. because every step of the way I fought my old life .. my old baggage.
Until I realized that in order to succeed, I had to let it go.
All of it.

In the past year, I’ve had two relationships.
Both of them were with people I dated previously.
Both of these women expressed huge regrets about how things ended ‘before’.
Both of them went to great lengths to tell me how they have changed,
how things are so different because of events that happened in their lives,
that they have been radically transformed into someone new.

In both instances, *my* friends and family told me I was being an idiot.
That Exs were Exs for a reason.
That they wouldn’t be there to pick up the pieces when I fell this time.

And both times, even though I knew it was most likely a fool’s errand, I walked directly into the fire with my eyes open.

One lost most of her family.
The other had her heart shattered by the boy she dumped me for.
And in both cases, I chose to be there to help lift them out of their depression.
I was told that both had learned new perspectives.
That me not being in their lives was a huge regret.
That they would be more communicative, more stable, more loving,
less judgemental, less secretive, less selfish.
I was told that they were glad I was back in their lives,
that things would be different,
and that they missed me.
needed me.
wanted me.

All the right things that made me willing to risk my heart with them again.
Little by little though, as their lives got back to normal, so did their personalities :

‘Healthy and Constructive Conversation’ turned back to criticizing the choices I made in my life, or how I raised my son; The way she was always critical of those closest to her, how she always talked down about them – showed me that my future with her would be no different than last time.

‘Ready to stop Running from Love’ ran from it again the moment things started to shift from ‘sex buddy’ to ‘boyfriend’; She lied to the people close to her by making me a secret – and she lied to me when she told me that she really felt this could be something serious.

Oddly?
I’m not bitter.
I might be a little sad, or a little sheepish,
or just disappointed that two people who had the potential to be absolutely wonderful .. fell short again.
But I’m not the least bit bitter.
And because of that … I realized that I have managed to buck the odds.
I’ve changed … fundamentally.

I wanted to be the type of person who could help someone when they needed it – even if they hurt me before, even if it hurt me to help them.
I wanted to be the type of person who could forgive someone so entirely, that I could trust them again – even if it meant risking my heart if I was wrong.
I wanted to be the type of person who truly believed in do-overs, in forgive-and-forget .. in second chances.

So I’m not bitter.

I was able to create new memories with people.
New endings.
Moments in time that will make me smile when I remember them.
I was able to fall for people.
Care about people.
Trust people.

Today
I kissed a girl that I could have fallen in love with again
good-bye.
I kissed her like I meant it.
It was a good kiss.

I’m not bitter though,
I’m not one of Ramona Flower’s seven deadly ex’s.
Because I got a second chance too.