Grow Where They Can't Go

Written by: Alicia Howell

Illustration by: Isabella Acosta  (Rookie Mag)

Illustration by: Isabella Acosta (Rookie Mag)

The downside of having lifelong friends is that they have witnessed your awkward exploratory moments.

Those specific moments define the labels and boxes people attach to us. These aren’t malicious labels or boxes (well at least they shouldn’t be) but they are descriptions that can retard the growth in our relationships with the people that mean the most to us. As we get older we find ourselves saying, “That’s the old me or I’m not really like that,” but the reality is; it is the you others saw and can’t seem to un-see.

That label is what they use to describe you and that box is where they left you because it makes them feel normal. When we realize that we have been labeled or boxed we tend to over compensate and self-destruct. We don’t take a moment to recognize that our friend or loved one has watched us grow in some many other areas of our life, that this one (in some cases more) awkward exploratory description is comfortable/familiar and quite possibly calming. In this era of leveling up on our haters and cutting people off, we quickly discard these relationships.

The truth is: we’ve simply grown in areas of our life that are invisible to their expectations of growth with us. Instead of writing the relationship off and wasting energy suffering from the misunderstanding…… continue to grow where they can’t go. Enjoy the new paths on your journey. Just because these people can’t go; doesn’t mean that you can’t bring them back a souvenir of your growth via your actions.


Stefanie Kaufman