It started as a seed, sometime before it became my everything. When everything else comes to me in waves or ripples or even almost-unnoticed drips, this came as a seed. Most new things wash over me slowly in a fluid way, gently changing the tone of my thoughts or subconscious until every thought rearranges itself to make room for the new one, to make connects in the fluidity of thought. But this thing was a seed.
At first, I rejected it, reacting to the new sensation like a cancer. I avoided the thought, tried to drown it in silence, grind it between the stones of denial. But it stayed there, working its way deeper into the layers of my mind, hinting at the possibilities, the beautiful changes.
Eventually, I accepted it. I poured all of my hopes into the little seed. I shone my imagination onto it until it started to grow roots and branches. They worked themselves through the whole of me, up and down, until even my toes and fingers and hair became extensions of this foreign thought that began to rule me. It was beautiful and exhilarating. It carried me forward and up until I was a creature quite unlike myself, someone new. I didn't see until later how dangerous it was.
But later came. When the thing was ripped away from me, there wasn't any part that survived. My deepest desires, inclinations, and thought processes were churned and shredded until I was completely unrecognizable, but only on the inside. Somehow, my bones and muscles and skin held themselves together while the inside of me turned to ash, my entire inner structure razed to the ground. Gone.
At first there was just pain. I couldn't gather enough energy to form thoughts to even process the change. Only pain. And when the thoughts came, they were only razors and shards, tearing away at the joy and contentment that seemed to be at the core of me. Somehow, I was breathing but I couldn't get enough air. And I didn't want to go on. I prayed that something would come along and end my existence so that I didn't have to hurt anymore. How could something hurt SO much? But the destruction didn't rain from the sky and I had to get up and go to work and then come home and keep going through the motions of being alive.
Months passed. Eventually, the pain turned to a numbness that eventually turned back into feeling. Eventually, I began to rebuild something that looked like my former self. But it wasn't the same, and will never be again. Eventually, I found that my fake smile was real again and finally I felt happiness that was something like what I knew before.
But the thing changed me. I will never again let one thing become my everything. It is much too painful to put so much hope in one thing. I cannot survive something like that again. I never want to be in that place again.
Still, I like this new version of me. I never would have gotten here if it hadn't been for what happened four months ago. The longest four months of my life. Somehow, after all of that, I like me. And now, I appreciate the happiness because I know what it means to lose it.
So if I seem different to you, it is because I am. And I'm happier than I've ever been.