You can be whatever you want to be (“Alone and Together,” continued)

Little by little, I learned how to like who I was. At the same time, though, I learned something else: I could not like who I was, too. I could try new things. I could grow. I could change my mind.

One day, soon after Thanksgiving, I decided to put on some Christmas music—and I enjoyed it. Before that time, I didn’t really like music and I never really had, and, until that time, I thought I probably never would. Anyway, even if I did, I figured, I would never really be good at it; catching up on everything I missed would take way too long.

I have my limitations, after all.

So, instead of trying to pretend to like something just to sound cool, I decided to do the opposite, but with the same result: I’d be proud of not liking music. I’d tell everyone as soon as I got a chance. I’d admit I was a dork, which, to me, was a different kind of cool.

And so, I did. And after a while, it became part of who I was, and part of who I wanted to continue to be.

That day, though, as I listened to the Christmas music, I realized that I could like it. I could be a person who likes music—even sappy music—if only I wanted to be.

I could be something new. I could change my idea of myself.

I can be anything I want.

Now, I like Christmas music and all kinds of unlikely things, and I’m glad I like them, even if at first I didn’t want to. And it’s little realizations like this that make life new every day.

I’m just a baby, really.

And that is the way I like to think of it.

I like to think of myself as if I am one year old, and my life is just beginning, and I can be anything I want.

If I want to love someone, I can love them. If I want to be with someone, I can be with them. If I want to go to church, I can—and will—go to church. There is nothing in the way except tradition.

And tradition, we know, is negotiable.

David and I never got married. We call each other husband and wife, but really, that is not what we are. One day, after getting pregnant and deciding I didn’t want to have a different last name from my baby, and I didn’t want David to, either—we are a family, after all—I went to the courthouse and changed it.

I don’t know when we will get married and I don’t really care.

My ending is just as happy either way.

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