I remember thinking at the time the photo was taken that I didn't like it at all. I critiqued it and picked out all of my flaws. My face was too fat, my eyes seemed too small and I hated the way my hair refused to curl on the left side. It wasn't a photo I remember being proud of in the least. So imagine my surprise when I opened the file and thought, "Oh my! That is a pretty young woman!" THEN I remembered it was me 10 years ago!
I remember how I was 10 years ago. I was spending a lot of time on my appearance. I was working out for real for the first time in my life, but the results never seemed to come fast enough or to be enough. I was sad because there were no boys that liked me and more of my Saturday nights were spent home than out doing the fun things I imagined other people my age were doing. I just KNEW there was something fundamentally wrong (and consequently unlovable) about me and it was my job to spend every waking hour ferreting out what that could possibly be. As a result the drill sergeant in my head was very vigilant and always ready to squash the slightest bit of a thought I might have that I was funny or pretty or great to be around.
.....You know.....kinda like I do to myself today.
Oh how horrible and ashamed (and motivated) I felt when I saw that picture. I want to go back and tell the young woman in that picture that she is loved and she is worthy and she is AMAZING. I want to tell her that she has wonderful adventures ahead of her and that she will endure pain but she will also know love in a way she never has. I want to tell her to put her chin up and her chest out and to face anything that comes at her with the courage and resilience I know she has.
But I can't do that.
Or can I?
What's the old saying? If you want shade from a tree, when was the best time to plant that tree? 40 years ago. When is the second best time? Today.
I don't want to be sitting here 10 years from now chastising the 38-year-old woman in the second picture above for doing the same thing the 28-year-old woman did to herself.
So, here's the message the 48-year-old Me has for me today:
"You are loved and worthy and AMAZING. You have wonderful adventures ahead of you. You will endure pain but you will also know love in a way you never have. Put your chin up and your chest out and face anything that comes at you with the courage and resilience that I know you have."