Do you ever look back at a photo and recall how you felt in that moment or phase of your life? Looking back at this photo I’m flooded with emotions. First, I’m filled with gratitude - for the version of me that didn’t quit. Then, I’m hit with sadness because I remember. I know who this girl is, I see past the smile she’s hiding behind.
I see the insecurity, the pain she doesn’t know how to heal, the doubt rolling around in her subconscious and the incessant negative self talk that never seems to shut up. I also see resilience, courage and strength. I see a girl who chooses faith over fear, trembling inside and smiling outside. A girl filled with fear and fire, grace and grit, passion and purpose. A girl who feels lost, unsure how to carry on and yet a girl who knows with every part of her being that she must.
I see a girl doing her best to show up every day. Committing to herself despite not having the answers, deciding that she is worthy even when she doesn’t believe it. I see a girl unwilling to give up on herself and her dreams. I see a girl cheering others on because she knows deep in her soul that if she can do it, anyone can. I see a girl with a heart to help, empower and inspire others to live their best lives. I see a girl who sees beauty in every day, but fails to see the beauty within.
I see a girl, confused and certain at the same time. Confused on her how, but so certain of her why. So she persisted, kept putting one foot in front of the other. And today she gets to look back at this picture and whisper - “thank you for loving me through this, thank you for showing up, thank you for believing in yourself” - and I realize as I thank her that she is still me. A beautiful, yet unloved, version of me. Though she felt lost, she served me well. She is purposeful, an integral part of my story and I will carry her with me into this next phase of my life. She possesses lessons and knowledge that helped shape this version of me. Past me is part of me, and I look back at that version of me with reverence and acceptance.
She is me, in all my forms, and she is loved, now more than ever.
And all that’s really changed, is that she’s learned to love herself.