“Oh, You’ve Changed…”

Alrighty, friends. It’s time for another rambling from yours truly. Let me go ahead and note something, though: This is not about any person or any event in particular – more like an accumulation of incidents, really. (And, frankly, some people just live for moments to be offended, so I’m just going to let them be if they read this and the shoe happens to fit a little.)

 As many of you already know, I graduated from college a few months ago. I moved away from my hometown for four years, and I’m just now starting to get adjusted to being back again. I had told myself since even before college that I would never return to this town, and yet here I am. I grew up as a military brat and this place is the closest to a true “home” that I’ve ever known. Sure, several things have changed, but Goldsboro is still home to me, and I love it here.

But, one thing that I hate about being home: the gossip. Things get around in a small town, and it’s frustrating trying to get back into the swing of things. Just this summer alone, I have encountered people that have had pre-made assumptions about me because of other people that I didn’t even know disliked me in the first place. I have also been dragged back into petty issues that I thought was left behind in high school, so here we are…

I don’t like having issues with people, and I definitely don’t like confrontation. It’s not my cup of tea. I have always tried to stay decently neutral in several things that I get involved in. It’s just who I am. In fact, I’d go far enough to say that I’m a people-pleaser. I like being liked. That’s me in a nutshell.

So… notice my surprise when I come home to some people automatically not liking me…

I’m not a perfect person. I am not saying that. I’m flawed. Extremely flawed. But I would never intentionally go out of my way to make somebody’s life hard. I don’t have it in me. And I would never spread a lie about somebody. Let me just make that clear right now.

It’s a small town. People are going to talk, and people are going to stay loyal to their friends and what they have been told. Even I have been guilty of doing that. I was recently told that I have changed since going away to college. I don’t let things bug me as much as I used to. I don’t hold grudges anymore. I am a lot more open-minded. I have no ill will towards a single person. In fact, the people I used to despise in high school are now my best friends (expect a blog post about that eventually)… and several people that I was once super close to now have no relationship with me. Funny how life works, right?

I feel like I’m still the same person I was four years ago. I do feel like I have grown as a person, but I’m still me. I’ve always been me. And, yes, certain things still bug me. I’ve just learned to pick my battles extremely well. And I have made it a goal of mine to keep improving on my character to better glorify God.

Several months ago, one of my best friends told me that I was judgmental. Of course there was more to that conversation, but that’s the gist of it. I have also been told by my family that I have acted entitled and “better” than some other people (including them). Those are some pretty tough blows, ya’ll. It broke my heart to realize that I was acting a certain way whenever I never intended to seem like that, you know? I made it my mission to improve. I still have a ways to go (my facial expressions will be the death of me…), but I’m working on it.

If you’re reading this, hear me out really quick: be honest with your friends and family. Let them know if they do something that hurts you or bugs you. I mean, don’t be a jerk about it… but constructive criticism helps a person become better. As a loved one, you owe them that. Also, tell people how much they mean to you. Let them know that you appreciate them. Sometimes, that is what will truly get them through their day.

In those aspects, I guess I have changed. I’m a lot more vocal about how I feel. I refuse to accept less than I deserve, but I also try to be the friend that lifts a person up more than anything. I feel like I’ve always had that in me, but I needed to grow as a person a little bit to truly understand the power of pure connections with people.

Not everybody is going to like me. I’ve learned that, and I have made peace with it. I have learned to approach those people in two ways. One, I may simply accept it and move on with my life. Simple as that. I’ll have no negative feelings towards the person, but I also won’t really make an effort with them. Or, two, I’ll make it my mission to basically prove everything that they have been told or once thought about me wrong. It’s usually the former.

I have heard some pretty mean rumors about what I have supposedly done and/or said in my past. If a person wants to think so little of me to believe that I would do those things, then so be it. That’s not the type of person I would want around me, anyway. Rumors don’t bother me. In that way, I have changed.

Four years ago, I swore I would never come back, and one reason was because I didn’t want to be involved with petty drama anymore. I felt like I was constantly being sucked into something that I didn’t belong in, and I was tired of people talking. But I’ve learned that people talk when they feel threatened. People talk when they feel like they have to make themselves out to be better than they truly are. And people talk when they simply have nothing better to talk about. I pity them.

Petty drama was enough to make me almost hate my hometown. Since then, I’ve learned to take everything with a grain of salt and to appreciate the good things in life. The good really does outweigh the bad. And, it’s okay to change and to grow as a person. There’s nothing wrong with that.

If you asked me in 2012, I would have said that I wanted nothing to do with Goldsboro. Now? I’m happy to be home, andnobody can or will change that. In other words, I’m taking my hometown back.

And, if you’re reading this, and you’re thinking to yourself, “But Brooke really DID do _____ and/or _____!” and there is absolutely – without even the smallest doubt – that I did/said what you believe, then I hope that you’ll accept my sincerest apologies.

If you have heard something that you need clarified, please just ask me about it before spreading it and assuming that you know the whole story. We’re adults. Like I said, though, I have no ill will towards anybody, so just have enough respect towards me to at least ask. 

I hope some people get a message from this post. Even if I’m not the person that they have issues with or that they have been hearing (or have heard) about, I hope some people get the hint that they shouldn’t always believe what they have been told. And people shouldn’t be spreading things that can (and will) hurt others. Just think. As mom has told me for years, “Believe half of what you see and nothing that you hear.”

This topic shouldn’t have needed to be addressed, but it’s been irking me for a few weeks now. Have a good day:)

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