I have always assumed that people and relationships were subject to change. However, until now I have never considered the consequences of “too much” change. It begs the question, “just how much change can a relationship endure before the relationship is no longer recognizable? Is there an expectation to maintain all of the attributes that formed an initial connection?
A few years ago, a friend chastised me for following up my geographical change with a physical one: I cut my hair. It was a necessary shearing; a decision I made without relationship obligation or consultation. In his rebuke of my altering my “covering”, he believed that I had also altered the conditions of our relationship. That in cutting my hair, I had deeply maimed him as well.
“Men like for things to stay the same”, he said. “When I met you, you had a head full of hair. That’s the woman I loved. I don’t know this short-haired woman.”
I recall this story in context with many stories I’ve heard about relationships ending because one or both parties had changed, so much so that whatever the transformation, the relationship could not bear the weight of much variation.
Among people who confess to relationship losses on account of change (haircuts, weight loss, spiritual revelation, etc), most admit to factors which lay beneath the surface of the subsequential separations. And I would complement their assertion with the question, “did the person really change or did they simply finally morph into their authentic self?”
My haircut was the necessary liberation from an imposter that I had identified and introduced to the world as the “real me”. I met and welcomed “Camille” that day. And “Camille” was the only person on my mind when I sat in my stylist’s chair. It never occurred to me that a personal change would be taken so personally.
Thankfully, my friend has forgiven me for my “mane indiscretion”. But I often wonder how much personal change I can impose upon my relationships before someone stands in protests or chooses to sever our ties in the same manner in which I was accused of severing my hair.
To be certain, I will not be a hostage to the consequences of change; I am resolved to let everything “be”. It is my hope that any losses that I suffer as a result of any change that I deem necessary are minimal. Any pasting that may occur must be viewed through the lens of enlightenment, in that the comings and goings of people in my life must be regarded as the wise work of the Universe.