A note from the writer: I’m in a years-long group chat with a small group of the closest queer people in my life. We cheekily call it the GNN (Gay News Network), and we share everything from funny memes and ridiculous TikToks to inspiring articles and even our biggest worries and insecurities. Recently, I shared with the GNN some intimate, personal thoughts on change, and in honor of Pride month, I’d like to share an excerpt of that conversation with you. While this blog post is rooted in the LGBTQ+ community, the topic focuses on how we all change over our lifetime and I hope each of you can glean something meaningful to apply to your own life.

I was on the phone the other day catching up with a friend I used to be extremely close with, and it was honestly like talking to a stranger. He and I had lost touch, and it was like he had no idea who I was anymore. He kept talking to me like I was 2019 Bryant, and I don’t know that Bryant anymore. 

People lose touch, and that’s totally fine, but we have to get caught up to speed, even if that means reintroducing ourselves to people who we love. This particular person didn’t take the time to know the changes that I went through or who Bryant of today is. Instead, the conversation was clunky and tripped along until I was exhausted and couldn’t wait to get off the phone. 

That conversation left me feeling even more distant from my friend. I was sad that he doesn’t know me anymore, but what was worse was that I had changed, but in his mind — he didn’t let me. 

I can tell you it’s one of the worst feelings when someone close to you doesn’t recognize or accept the changes you’ve gone through, intentionally or not. This is the number one reason I’ve fallen out of touch with friends over the years. 

Even in my marriage, this has been our biggest source of conflict. When Keith and I first got together, I was a different person. I was much more wild and carefree. But I also was really broken, mentally and physically, so I needed a lot of being taken care of. Over the years, as I became more responsible, more disciplined, and started feeling better with my health, I didn’t feel seen or like he understood how I had changed. (And I’m sure I’ve made him feel like this in our relationship too!)

It’s scary to see someone you love change. You can feel left behind. Or left out. You might want to hold onto them exactly as they once were because it makes you feel good or needed or wanted.

It’s been one of the scariest but most rewarding things to allow each other to grow and change — and to be along for each other’s transformation. We aren’t those same boys anymore, and we probably don’t need each other in the same ways we once did. But we love the latest versions of each other, and we now need each other in different ways. 

I know everyone goes through change in their lifetime, and for the LGBTQ+ community especially, we can spend our entire lives peeling back the layers in pursuit of becoming the people we were meant to become, not the versions of us shaped by societal norms, fears, and trauma. Pride is a celebration of change and a protest against conformity. Let’s honor who we are right now, and let’s cheer for who we will become tomorrow.

My hope for you this Pride is that you will keep changing, embrace that change, celebrate it in others and support them. And if you miss the mark with someone you love, invite them to reintroduce themselves to you.

I think one of the greatest ways to love someone is that when they change — you let them.