Change is Not an Event...It's a Process

Friday, 05 September 2008 14:04 Written by  Michele Guobadia

So you spend a lot of time alone. Not alone as in no friends and solitude and talking to imaginary friends. More like this is my stuff and this is the way I do things and this is where this goes and I like it that way alone. So I have spent a lot of time alone. Some of my own doing and some by circumstance.

 You get used to it. Some times are better than others. Like when I wanted to change jobs or pick out my house. I don't really have to rely on anyone else but me. I come and go and do as I please and the only person that has to be happy about it is, right? Simple and uncomplicated. I have my opinions,   and particulars and they all make sense to me...cause I've discussed them with myself...alone...lots of times. I think I have really good opinions and they are right because I think so and I agree. Besides, no one has been around to tell me otherwise. I fact, I surround myself with people who think like me and for the most part, they agree with my opinions, views and orders. So it makes it right, right?

And then you came along and my orderly opinionated world was messed with, hard, and I tried to resist. Oh I did! You gotta do things my way and do this and do that. WHY? Cause that's what's hot in the streets? Cause it fits my comfort level and decreases yours. Why the power struggle? The pissing contest? Why the resistance to change? Change to the unfamiliar. Change to the new. Like I wanna change you, but really I have to change me. Not to a new me, but change as in you be you, and I’ll be me––and we are cool with that. Hmmmm, the process of change.

My students struggle with change. The changing of rules and policies —new students and new perception to this Greek Life thing. The chapters that go along with the change with a healthy dose of reality and trust will do well and last a long time. The ones that don't, well, let's just say I sat in two meetings today to discuss the imamate departure of two of my "problem" chapters. Keep up or get left behind, or, worse yet, miss out.

I look at my parent’s relationship. Mom was willing to change. Her way, the way she grew up, what she was taught and what she believed to be true. She was willing to change all of that to save her marriage and make life better for her children  to vindicate herself. But what happens when one half tries to change and the other side resists? Can change in a marriage be one-sided? Doesn't the other person feel slighted? Like hey,’ I'm doing all this work here! Can you meet me half way? Dad wasn't gonna change. I don't think he knows the meaning of the word. There is his way and there is no way. You choose when you don't adapt. When you don't change, you die, very slowly, every day, until you are extinct....sad.

I am in the airport this morning. Yea it's 5:30 AM as I write. I'm on my way to Bloomington, Ind. for an institute for undergraduate fraternity and sorority members. For the next five days, I'm gonna push 90 young minds to change, to re-evaluate the way they have been leading their organizations and lead with courage and change towards the future of the fraternal movement. Yeah, I volunteered for this! But think of what this change can create! A shifting of thought for the better. Seven years ago this very summer, I attended this very same institute and the change in me has been remarkable. The change in how I see my sorority, career path, myself. It didn't happen overnight but damn––change is a powerful thing!

And then there is you, changing my mindset and the way I see the world. Totally outside my frame of reference and my sphere of influence. Telling me about a thing I have never experienced, like driving above the clouds...that’s a cool visual...I want to see that too. You have me changing for the better...looking for a peace in the still puddles of clear blue water that I call your eyes...praying and being open to that change and giving thanks, not for me but for you....

I had a minor freak out this week about buying my house. I found myself looking at my checkbook and the realization of a mortgage payment hit me square in the face! Panicked thoughts flew around my brain. Can I afford this? Am I crazy? Will I be able to buy appliances? And why did I get a dog? How much does puppy chow cost anyway? When the dust cleared I realized that yes I can do this but some lifestyle choices were going to have to change. No more bidding on COACH handbags and wallets on eBay. No more shopping sprees, no excessive eating out, looking into generic instead of name brand groceries.  Does everything have to be dry-cleaned? Coupons are your friend. Stay home and entertain, alcohol costs money––things gotta change. But there are some non-negotiable: Dreadlocks must be maintained, gym is a must have, can't get around without gas, and I just like bottled water! Change from the frivolous to the important...

Be committed to change and the ups and downs, joys and pains it brings. Embrace what it shows and teaches you. Be the change.. My flight is taking off now. Change is eminent!!!

*Photo by GMO Photographer Billy Montgomery.

Michele Guobadia

Michele Guobadia

Michelle Guobadia is currently the Associate Dean of Students at UNC Charlotte.  A young black professional looking for direction in her life and making strides to getting exactly what she wants but more importantly…what she deserves.  She currently resides in NC and is happy playing mommy to her new Westie Poo dog Pascal.

She can be contacted at