Not the Same Anymore

Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, takes time out from gardening to photoshop headlines of global changes.“I am not the same person I was before.” Another mother said this, as the setting sun seared the landscape behind her. Sitting on the edge of a deckchair, hunched over an almost-empty plate, I looked up suddenly. Sweet light danced on her hair, on the pond beyond her, in the gardens, and in the faces of the others around us, the ones whose old selves had been torn apart by tragedies that now brought us together.

I looked back down at my dirt-rimmed fingernails and at my very respectable outfit from the day before that I’d hastily thrown on to replace the ragged clothes worn all day hiking with the dog, working on the computer, and messing around in the garden. It had been a full day. A good day. And now I was sitting around someone else’s pond with friends and good food. Far away from the rest of the world and troubles I couldn’t control.

“Not a trace remains of who I used to be,” the other mother said. And I knew what she meant. Immediately. Exactly. Sadly. And Joyfully.


Are you who you used to be? How do you hold on to who you are and your beliefs when the world around you seems to be changing in ways that challenge your core values?

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9 thoughts on “Not the Same Anymore

  1. Elaine Mansfield

    I am entirely different and, on the other hand, much the same as I used to be. Life is a paradox. I have the same mental habits, the same tiresome complexes, the same habit of eating too much at night… On the other hand, I’m more forgiving and have a clearer perspective about what matters. I find plenty of traces of my old self in my new world. Deaths are big transition moments and I’m digesting my brother’s death and what that means to me. My partner’s death was clearer and more straightforward. I love the dismembered pieces in your photo.

    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Thanks, Elaine. I must try to dismember more things in the future. This week, I got so attached to my straight photo that I could not play with it, or dismember or dismantle it in any way. Now that’s so much more like the old me. I love being more adventurous – my daughter’s influence. But my old straightforward self won out this time. Seems my daughter and I are still fighting one another only now it’s all going on inside me. Talk about tiresome complexes.

  2. Annette Corth

    Another excellent image!

    I am not the person I used to be, both physically and psychologically. Learning from my experiences as the years roll by, my personality has changed, for the better, I hope. Time has also altered my body, not for the better. What is happening in the world around us is sad and frightening, but there is little I can do to alter it. I cope by ignoring what I can’t control. Am I an ostrich or a realist?

    Let’s hang in there.


    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Yeah, let’s just hang in there and feast and enjoy what we can, while we can, Annette. And actually, seems to me, in all the feasting and traveling back and forth to see friends – we’re living. Big. We’re not JUST hanging in there. Cheers!

  3. joann giovannone

    Robin, no, I’m not the same person I was prior to losing our son and there in lies the distance I’ve felt from family/friends…they’re looking for the “old Jo” and I can never be that person again 🙁 Not going to claim I’m a better, stronger person either, the most positive quality to come out of our tragedy has been a much greater appreciation for loved ones, each other & our surroundings, nature, little joys we never took the time to notice before…..but I would never wish the grieving excruciating pain of loss on ANYONE else, just so the person’s left alive could find greater appreciation . 🙁 <3

    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Yes, Jo. Here too, it took a long time for my family to realize that the old Robin was not coming back. Losing a loved one can make you a better person, kinda like how getting cancer can let you lose weight – but who would want to recommend that?


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