Some years back, a woman I had known since I was a child told me that people never change. I don’t remember why she said this but think now that she was referring to someone we both knew. “It’s not true!” I flared. “I’ve changed.”

Of course, this is not a new idea; nor is it a particularly inflammatory one. The same has been said of dogs, zebras, and tigers. At the time, though, I was deeply offended. During the many years I had known her, she had not changed at all: She had been a self-satisfied adolescent with an extremely small world view, and this she remained into adulthood. I couldn’t bear that she lumped me together with everyone else and that she had failed to recognize how set apart I was, how unique, how evolved.

Now I see that I am the same bird I always was, only more so. Whereas I had been withdrawn and sad, now I am reclusive and oppressively melancholy. Whereas I had been timid around people, now I avoid them as much as possible and watch animal shows instead.


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