I used to believe that people never change.
That the heart of humanity is at its core: static, unchanging, absolute. That we are doomed to forever repeat our sordid history of greed, violence, and pain. That humanity will always remain unable to comprehend the suffering of his fellow man.
This belief likely stemmed from a corresponding view of myself as a being essentially and irrevocably flawed. I knew that the flaw I felt inside me could never be mended, and that all such efforts were sure to end in failure. I bore with them simply out of respect for the wishes of my friends and family.
And so I drifted through life like seaweed, projecting only the outward appearance of motion. I knew only that I was missing something important, but did not feel as though I deserved to find it.
One day, I had a dream in which my unconscious symbology gained form. I was a white wolf. It was me as I wished I could be, with all of the strength I desired, all of the poetry I imagined, and none of the weakness I so despised.
Some time later, I wrote a short screenplay featuring him as the main character. He began as my analogue, a simple case of wish fulfillment. He could find the things that I could not. His search for the “tigress” was largely symbolic – and while she was in some respects my idealized vision of the feminine form, she also represented the elusive thing that I myself could not quite define.
And soon, he took on a life of his own. He became his own man. He evolved beyond my control.
At the same time, I began to grow frightened by changes within myself. I started to branch out, to make friends. I became concerned about the state of the world. I was always tired, but I had never felt so alive.
Soon, I became frightened, as well. I felt that I was losing control of my identity. I started to wonder if I still knew who I was. All the traits that I had once used to use to define myself were eroding.
But I gradually came to understand that identity is not something so easily defined as the kind of music you like, the people you know, the way that others see you, or even the way you see yourself. It runs far deeper than that.
Identity is the part of you that allows you to change, not the person you are at any given moment. It is the thread that connects past and future.
And so I’ve learned to embrace the new me. Where once I was static, I am now organic. And in the process, I’ve rediscovered my soul. It was already there to begin with, if I had but known how to look.
The wolf, the man: we now run in lockstep. What began as simplistic wish fulfillment has now gained flesh and substance, become a truth all its own.
Now that I know that I have the capacity to change, the same must be true for others.
To live is to change. And now that I have found my legs, I will never stop. As long as I am alive. As long as my heart keeps beating. And maybe even long after that.
The solitary hunter, now become the guide.