A few weeks ago, a friend asked me if I had upgraded to the new operating system for my phone. I said I had.
"Do you like it?"
"How is it?"
"It's like the old operating system. But different. Not wicked different? But you notice."
After I lost Beansie, I wanted to get another cat, but I was worried that I wasn't ready. I was worried that I wouldn't love another cat enough, that I would unfairly expect some poor, unsuspecting kitty to be Beansie 2.0, when I knew that wasn't possible.
Lizzie B, the new kitty, is not Beansie 2.0. She is Lizzie 1.0.
And yet. While I don't expect or even want her to be Bean, there are obvious similarities. Lizzie is smarter than Bean was, but she remains adorably silly. Unlike Bean, Lizzie is not interested in being in the shower when it's running, but she does want to snuggle up with me when I sleep. She likes the exact same kind of toy that Bean liked and ignores other ones. And, like Bean, she will stretch her head back so she can look into my face and make sure I'm still where I'm supposed to be.
She is very like Beansie, but wholly different.
"Do you miss Bean?"
I will always miss my sweet girl. But Lizzie makes my life better.
Different. But better.
This year has been difficult. Like, knock me down and kick me around difficult. As a result, I am not the same person I was on December 31of 2012.
And that's okay.
Because the truth is that 2012 Danielle -- even June of 2013 Danielle -- had a propensity to be selfish. She wasn't generous with her love or her time. She thought she was; if you had asked me if I was a good person then, I would have said yes, of course I'm a good person. But I was a fearful person. I held a lot of things close to the chest that were better shared. Friendship, and honesty, and tenderness. I wasn't as open as I am now. I didn't trust other people because I didn't trust myself.
I didn't know how to ask for help. I didn't know how to receive it.
These are flaws in the system. When you can't tell people when or where you're at, you are alone all of the time; alone is not ideal. We're not meant to be entirely solitary, I don't think. We're meant to live in a community, functioning within it, not separate from it.
I am more uncertain of life than ever, but I'm not afraid of it now. I'm feeling my way through the center of it rather than clinging to the walls and doors.
I'm the same in many ways. I didn't lose or forget the fundamentals of who I am. That would be wrong.
I'm different. I'm running on a different system.
Not wicked different. But you'd notice.