So much has changed. It’s only August, and so much is different. It’s almost shocking how much life can change in a year, in six months, in three months…in three weeks. Life is different. Everything is different. I AM different.

I’ve thought back to the girl I was two years ago more often than not these past couple of months. Who she was. What motivated her. How she made decisions. How she affected other people. And I think of her – the Allie from two years ago – as a totally different person than the one currently laying in bed at 7pm on a Sunday night, blasting music while enjoying the indulgence of a face mask.

The Allie of two years ago was motivated by a broken heart. She was motivated by pain and filling a void; desperate to pack all the empty space with something, not caring what it was. She went out a lot. She showed off her figure in plunging tops and short shorts. She spoke a lot about herself, both on this blog and in person. She kissed a lot of guys, many of whom were strangers. She cried in the shower on more than one occasion. She was kind of an asshole.

And as much as she tried to ignore it, she felt judged. She felt observed. And she felt unsure; like a fraud. As if, at any point, everything was going to come crumbling down. She felt like she wasn’t authentic – whether to it was to the universe, or just to herself.

Fast forward a year and a half and it DID come crumbling down. A thirteen-year friendship ended with a lengthy text last fall, which felt like a stab in the heart. Six months later, another childhood friendship ended in the same way. The second one hurt significantly more than the first, but I think of both of these people, and these messages, every. single. day.

I was told, in one way or another, in both of those messages that I was a negative influence in their lives. Negative. I spent a lot of time thinking about that word and the connotations that come with it. I mean, it’s LITERALLY : “(of a person, attitude, or situation) not desirable or optimistic.”

I have an obsessive personality. I maniacally obsess over thoughts in my head, even if they’re irrelevant to regular life. In this case, I spent a great deal of time at the beginning of this summer legitimately convincing myself that I was a negative. That I influenced those closest to me in a negative way.

I think the hardest part of both of these scenarios is that I still don’t understand. The idea that I never had a conversation, a face to face, where I was able to analyze and fully understand what was happening. In both instances, I got the words digitally – and had to dig through them for meaning, searching for an understanding while staring at my cell phone screen. I wrote lengthy responses to both that I never sent – since I determined there was no changing their minds.

After many, many months, I still don’t understand. But I’ve come to accept that, without intentionally meaning to and without fully comprehending how, I hurt the people closest to me. And for that, I am truly sorry.

Which brings us to me, now. Allie of present day.

I’ve invested a lot of time trying to figure out how the Allie of the past could have unintentionally hurt other people. And I’m trying to internally address those issues. I’ve learned that even when I thought I wasn’t, I was still trying to fill a void in my heart for a long, long time. And I think that lead to a lot of poor decisions on my part.

But what I’m also beginning to understand, is that you don’t necessarily have to have a “negative” personality to be a negative influence in someone’s life. I’ve acknowledged that a lot of personalities don’t mesh with each other, and that’s nothing bad – it’s just accepting that people are allowed to change and drift apart. I think, sometimes, when you try so hard to make these types of relationships work, that’s when things go toxic – or, in this case, how they could have perceived me as being a negative influence in their universe.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about basics – and how they’re different for every individual. Back to Basics, you know? I’ve abandoned make-up, I’ve been wearing my hair curly again – opting to ignore the hair dryer at the bottom of my bathroom drawer. I’m trying to spend as much quality time with my family and close friends as possible. I spend as much time near water as I can. I read a lot of books. I’m working at embracing and learning from the promotion I got at work. I try to soak up politics and attempt to understand what’s happening around the world.  I’m working out (which is insane, if you know me well). Lately, I haven’t been the girl who goes out on four dates a week, or who spends the majority of her time figuring out how to drastically increase her social media following (I’m eye rolling at myself, right now). Most of my week nights these days are spent lounging around my apartment, doing laundry and (attempting) cooking dinner.

All I can really do now is move forward. I can use these lessons to try and understand how people work and how friendships can be built in the future. I’ve been trying to surround myself with individuals who are inherently kind souls, who don’t judge when you tell them something stupid you did, and who gossip as little as possible about their friends behind their backs (I’ve learned my lesson in that arena – no. more. gossip.). And I can honestly say I’ve found a solid group of people – people who I’m consistently in awe of, people who I’m surprised by, and who continue to challenge and support me in ways I’ve never experienced. My family has been a massive support, as well.

I’m not the girl from two years ago anymore. I’m not the girl from last year. I’m not the girl from six months ago. And to be honest, I don’t want to be any of those people any more. I probably won’t even want to be THIS person in six months. All I can say, honestly, is that I’m trying to dig up the negatives within myself, address them, and grow from the experience of allowing myself to understand how my actions can affect other people. It’s a lot easier said than done (believe me), but I firmly believe that self-awareness is key to growth and damn, do I still hope to grow up to be a good person.