Cosy season is finally upon us and I am thrilled to spend even more time at home in my safe sanctuary. 2022 has felt very full-on. With the world ‘back to normal’, suddenly postponed trips and meet-ups and friendship dates were back on the table, and I certainly felt the pressure to simply pick things back up as though nothing had happened.

But, the truth is, everything has happened. Collectively, we’ve all lived through several once-in-a-lifetime events and it’s been a ride just to hold on. Between a global health pandemic to race uprisings, and economic crashes to political farces (mostly in the UK…), I am so proud of you and I for being here today, persevering.

During lockdown, it felt like we were all on a semi-level playing field. Our energy levels were low, our options to socialise zero, our experiences blurring into one. But the disparity between introverts and extroverts, homebodies and out-outers now is more obvious than ever. On a personal level, my energy levels remain low and my homebody senses are sky-high. I spent much of our imposed lockdowns building a home for myself, within myself, and creating a life I’m really proud of. The before-lockdown and after-lockdown Michelle’s are two entirely different people.

I’m not who I was, and I really like that. I am incredibly proud of who I am after bracing myself time and time again against once-in-a-lifetime events and beyond.

The problem is: some people don’t like that.

There’s people who love to visualise you in the same small box you once were in, who want to keep ‘helping you’ through a problem you once had three years ago, who want to make sure their life and simultaneously their problems are worth more than yours.

I’m not who I was. I feel secure in my everyday mundane and I don’t feel like I need to shoehorn a social gathering into my week just so I can talk about it on Monday morning in the inevitable weekly catch-up. I absolutely LOVE my job and can’t relate when people ask me how I ‘made it through’ the day – I often wish there were more hours. I am motivated to reach my fitness goals by going to the gym regularly in the mornings and can’t really relate to people sending me ‘dragging myself to the gym’ memes.

I’m not who I was, and I wish people would celebrate the new me with me.

I’m not who I was.

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