Inflammatory title aside, because if you're like me your brain probably filled in a dirty/bad/funny word in that "*$&#" ...
There's a real thing there. There's a real, and potentially really painful, question in there.
What did you "used" to be?
This painful question has come up in my life a few times, most recently with a dear friend. She was, and is, the single most artistically talented human being I have ever met. Her ability to create whole worlds in painstaking detail and to mirror the world we all live in with such precision and fascinating perspective... she is an angel. She is incredible. She is superhuman. And she is heartbroken... because as far as she's concerned... she "used to be" an artist.
Because life got in the way.
Life, work, health, money, time, family, responsibility, distraction, to-dos... they're a killer. They steal away our time and attention. And sometimes we don't even realize it's happening until all of a sudden YEARS have passed since the last time we did those things that made us happy and that helped us express ourselves and feel joy and pride... Those things that helped us understand who we were and how we made sense in this crazy, stressful, populated world.
I feel like I have a lot of "used to"s.
I used to bake
I used to make art
I used to sing
I used to play piano
I used to craft
I used to have time
I used to feel joy
I used to feel anything that didn't involve some level of stress and pressure...
And that hurts.
Because I'm still here. I'm not gone. I didn't stop being able to sing because I stopped making time to sing. I didn't suddenly lose all that experience and education in art and in baking because life got in the way. It's all still in there. I'm still me. I'm just a little... lost.
Lost at the bottom of my own to-do list...
And, for as long as I need it to be ok... that's ok.
Please, from me, take comfort in knowing that whatever it is that you "used to be", you still are. In a perfect world I'd snap my fingers and suddenly have everything figured out. Loads of time to do all the things I love AND operate as a functional, adult member of society. But that's not realistic. If all I have the time or energy to do today is survive, that's ok. And on those good days, where I DO have time or I DO have energy, I'll sing. I'll bake. I'll make art.
Use this moment as an opportunity to remember. To honor who you have been and what you have accomplished, and to give yourself the grace and understanding to know that whoever, however, whatever that part of you was, it still is too. You're still in there. You're still you.
And I love you. I hope you can love you too.