You don’t get to choose how someone remembers you.
Perhaps you waltzed into their ornately decorated alcove of a heart with grace and gentleness. Perhaps you rammed your boisterous chuckle into the melancholy gripping onto their days. Perhaps you sliced treacherously into their life, shaking their peace. Perhaps you were the beacon breaking through their darkness. Perhaps you walked away when they needed you to stay. Perhaps you were simply a background character in their fairytale.
Perhaps how it happened matters less when you realize that you don’t get to choose the memories they decide to keep of you. You don’t get to choose how you scribbled your existence into the hard drive of their life. You don’t get to choose who you remind them of. You don’t get to choose if they are sad or happy thinking of you or if they think about you every day or not all. You don’t get to choose how deeply you cut into their soul, and above all, you don’t get to choose if they felt hurt by you.
Awakening, isn’t it? Realizing that our intentions lose value the moment they leave our body—the moment someone else encodes them differently. The you and I living in our minds are not the same you and I living in the minds of those around us.
And although our choices will always be our freedom thriving, our choices will also be our unbecoming in the eyes of another. Yet it is in this unbecoming that writing in the rest of the story is plausible—it is the now that you can still change.
You can show up even if you don’t know why you should. You can ask for forgiveness even if you don’t feel like it. You can be optimistic when those around choose not to be. And you can always be the uncensored version of yourself. The kind of you without the glossy cover.
The kind of you that lies awake on your frigid bedroom floor when everyone else has gone to bed, flipping through every possible array of what tomorrow could be, like a magazine saturated with too much pigment.
The kind of you that sips on too much caffeine and stops speaking mid-sentence. The kind of you that sings the lyrics in the wrong key while dancing to the off-beat.
The kind of you that weeps in public because you have accepted that grieving is mending too—that the hurt needs to be drained somehow.
The kind of you that leaves when the burden of staying becomes too heavy or too mundane. The kind of you that echoes with laughter like a tea kettle whistling with water, squeaky but soothing.
The kind of you that reflects on errors made and tries to do better. The kind of you that doesn’t settle with mediocrity in the conversations you have, or jobs you work, or values you uphold, or dreams you water back to life.
The kind of you that romanticizes healing just as you have loneliness. The kind of you that allows seeds of hope to grow roots in your bones, watching them slowly spread into gardens until they reach your mind—until you believe it. Until you believe that worth isn’t defined by the way someone else remembers you.