For those who knew the previous version of me—that meek, neurotic, broken soul who floated through life like a specter—I recognize that you’d gotten so used to seeing and interacting with her that the radical transformation that’s taken place in me over the past four or five years and, particularly, the last two, has no doubt had your head spinning. You look at the person I’m becoming and go “Who’s that woman?” I get it. I’ve been asking myself the same question and the answer that I’ve come up with is that she is me—the real me, the person I was always meant to be. That other woman you knew for so long was lost, stuck, dead inside. She was everybody else’s girl, doing what they wanted, being who they wanted, allowing things to happen to her instead of making them happen herself. This is how life is when you become so mired in depression and anxiety that you can’t function normally. It’s paralyzing. You can’t make decisions, can’t take action—not even to help pull yourself out of it—and life is overwhelming. Over the past several years, as I’ve begun to heal myself, I’ve started to figure out who I am, to be my own person. But I know that watching me go through this awakening, or rebirth as I’ve come to view it, from the other side must be like watching a zebra shed its stripes for giraffe spots. Some of you don’t like this new me; others of you aren’t sure yet. You’re getting to know her and I guess it really is like meeting a new person; I certainly feel like a different person. Maybe that’s the best way for us to approach the change—pretend, if we can, that we haven’t known each other for the length of time that we have, put aside the thoughts, feelings, and opinions you had about the old me, the way that our relationship functioned in the past, and I will aim to do the same because there is no going back, only forward.