“Oh, how I regret not having worn a bikini for the entire year I was twenty-six. If anyone young is reading this, go, right this minute, put on a bikini, and don't take it off until you're thirty-four.”
― Nora Ephron
Next Saturday, I will be attending my 24th high school reunion along with the class of 1988 (their 25th). I have spent the morning uploading high school pictures from various alumni to Flickr for use in the video to flash on the screen throughout the evening. And I have been focusing on how small my waist was. How thin my arms were. Other than the big GIANT 80's hair and the bushy caterpillar eyebrows...I was SMOKIN' HOT.
|Circa 1988 vs. Circa 2012. Sigh. The old me. And the new.|
Well, my BODY was smokin' hot. And I certainly do wish I had flaunted it more. And I know that so many of us look back and wish for the return of those carefree kids in those photos with the thin physiques and the wide-open futures. But as I look back at these photos LONGING for the return of that effortlessly skinny girl (I ate COOKIES for lunch, for goodness sake..which may be how I came to be so much...thicker), I realized something: that girl no longer exists. Sure, I've added (a lot) of pounds since those days. But that's not the ONLY thing that's different.
I am (almost) a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PERSON.
- I am more confident. That girl was a mouse. She thought she was ugly, too skinny, not smart enough, never funny.
- I am wiser. That girl made poor decisions...ALL THE TIME. She leaped without looking (OK, I still do that a lot) and she sacrificed herself continually.
- I am less alone. That girl walled people off. She kept them at arm's length for fear of being hurt even more than she already had been.
- I speak my mind. That girl was argumentative, sure. But she didn't speak the truth. She debated but she did not share.
- I am more aware. That girl had blinders on about most things. She had a streak of idealism but she never really paid attention.
- I seek a higher power. That girl was convinced that God did not exist. She knew better.
But isn't that the POINT of growth?
I don't WANT to remain stagnant. Sure, I'd like to make healthier choices to get back to my thinner self but, you know what? I am not defined by how I LOOK.
I. Am. Not. Defined. By. How. I. Look.
None of us are. We TRY to define people in any way we can. We label: fat, skinny, white, black, Asian, gay, straight, blue-collar, white-collar, short, tall, athletic, dumpy, disabled, and on, and on, and on...
When will we be judged by the content of our character? Martin Luther King's speech echoed once again in every house in our country with a television just a few weeks ago. When will we start living his dream? I am going to my reunion next week. I am proud of who I have become (even though, MAN, I still have a long way to go...) and I look forward to the event. I don't look the same. I don't act the same. I am not the same. And I hope that I never, ever STAY the same.
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