Trip in the way back machine... and some advice from a women getting wiser...
This photo came to me as a surprise in my inbox a couple of a weeks ago. I hadn't seen it in a long time. I was about 15-16 I guess, at a junior prom. (I was a sophomore - the same age my son is now).
Back when this photo was taken, I was a kid. Struggling in school, not getting along with my parents, hardly ever saw my father, and was still dealing with lots of stuff that I didn't fully grasp at the time. I didn't think I was pretty, or tall enough, or smart enough or "enough" of anything. I was looking at blue eyes, or straight hair, or amazing talent, something - other - than what I saw in my own mirror and thinking I was less than that. Too different. Too "ethnic". I heard the words beautiful and stunning, from friends and family and hairdressers ... but I honestly didn't believe them. I wanted to be something other than what I was because I didn't know what I was yet.
I had yet to find myself, find my passions, learn about the world, empower my own strengths, find my own inner beauty that will always - always - trump (sorry) whatever the mirror sees.
Im almost 50 now and I look back at photos of me this young and I really don't recognize myself, and I think it's because I wasn't a fully formed human being yet. I was so damn focused on what other people thought of me, and who my friends were and whether they liked me that I didn't even take time to think about whether I liked myself.
Im sharing this because I had dinner with a bunch of amazing smart, talented, passionate and yes - beautiful women last night. (and a couple of great guys too including my husband). And that hours long conversation made me really think about this photo.
The women in our group were from their 20s through their 60s. We each have our own opinions, thoughts & heartaches. Each age has their own things to focus on. I'm glad to be done with my 20s and 30s honestly. But so excited to see people I care about solidly in those decades and making their way through.
So many of us get so wrapped up in what other people think, or whether we are doing enough, being enough, we forget to just "be".
Women - Just be. You are beautiful. Do good things and do what makes you happy. It doesn't matter what it is just do what makes you feel whole. Dig in the dirt , raise chickens, share an ice cream with your kids, make music, run a marathon, jump into a freezing cold pool in the middle of the night, bake amazing twirling loaves of bread... If this fills your well today and makes you feel whole, then you are doing it right.
Tomorrow might lead you somewhere else... until that path shows you the way... enjoy where you are.
You are enough.