My head thrown back in laughter for the hundredth time, I experienced the briefest of moments in which I saw the two of us from outside my body. And what I saw was not one amazing woman, but two. Peers, with twin rivulets of laugh-till-you-cry tears streaming down our cheeks, bonding over the joys and follies of gluten-free living and our shared experience of being female in the sometimes male-dominated world of tech.
It struck me in that moment that a younger and less secure version of myself would have felt threatened--diminished even--in the presence of this incredible woman. That I felt nothing but the purest joy at having found such a kindred soul stunned me into a temporary disoriented silence. Because, of course, what would have changed in these past ten years but myself?
Some shifts are so gradual that we don't see them until those moments in which we are somehow illuminated to ourselves in high definition, exposing where the lines and angles have diverged from the shapes of our past. In some places, we're lighter. In others, more shadowed. Sometimes it's only a fleeting shimmer, just a hint of a tingle of a new way of being in our bones. And sometimes we're knocked senseless with the realization that we are not who we once were. We're ourselves, but different. We're the same and yet, at the same time, wholly and irrevocably changed.
In the end, things don't change as much as we think they do. But things change us, and, if we're lucky, for the better.