It’s strange to look back on photos. Photos you deemed noteworthy or life-changing during that moment’s notice. You transport yourself back into that state of mind in which you found yourself in the photo, during that moment of your life. You remember how you were feeling. How young you were. How shy and insecure you were. And maybe how you still are.
It’s strange to look back on these photos and find how much you have grown. Your childish innocence and sweetness hardened over the years as you grew up, matured and opened your eyes, ears and mind to the world around you. The lines in your face slowly became more defined. There grew a worry in your eyes. A coldness. What were once clear, hopeful and doe-eyed eyes, now turned cool and “realistic.”
It’s also strange to look back on these photos and see so much of your innocence, sweetness, shyness and quietude still a part of all those photos. How a part of that has never quite left you.
You can now see why so many people “loved” or “adored” you. Why so many saw goodness and wonder in you.
Sure, maybe it be your innocence. Your guilelessness. Your sweetness. Your kind-heartedness. Maybe your ambition and dream. Your liking towards others. Mysteriousness. Creativity.
But looking through these photos, a part of you sees your weakness. You were so insecure. So uncomfortable with yourself. So quiet and shy. Too stiff in your stance and never feeling fully relaxed around others. Others just wanted to know you and get you to open up to them. They wanted to see you for you–your true colors and all–like there was this magical quality about you that they wanted to uncover for themselves.
And, as much as you may have tried to resist and break out of being that shy, weak, timid and quiet girl that you have known and been for your entire life, a part of you still knows that that part of you will always remain. You will always be that girl. As much as you have grown and matured and “come into your own” in college, you know a part of you will always be her.
At the very core of us all, we have always been who we ought to be.
Which reminds me of what writer/druggist Aldous Huxley once said: “Our goal is to discover that we have always been where we ought to be. Unhappily we make the task exceedingly difficult for ourselves.”
I have always been a firm believer in knowing and staying true to yourself. Owning your independence; expressing your womanhood; thriving on your individuality. I believe a part of me was always so adamant about that because I secretly wanted to be like those confident women who were so full and confident and sure of themselves in my life growing up; and I always knew I was so shy and insecure, even though I had a good understanding of myself and what I wanted.
“Our goal is to discover that we have always been where we ought to be. Unhappily we make the task exceedingly difficult for ourselves.”
Everything we want and need to do is right here, right in front of us. And staying honest to your will, your way, your friends, your loved ones, your career, your ambition, your love and your life… That’s the hardest part.
But your spirit’s still the same. It always has been. Trust that. And accept yourself for who you have always have been. That’s the only way to move forward, within and without, with honesty and fortitude, faith and love, and love in all.
Honestly, almost cry to read this! This is written beautifully. I can feel what you feel as I’m still searching what I wanted in my life. I always go here and there. As I’ve grown up, I see life is full of surprises and I wish someday I could see myself somewhere, at the right place, surrounded by the people who loved me, and spend the rest of my life with the one I love. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Rachel! 🙂
Thank you for your comment. It means so much to hear that! I admit that I wrote this in the wee hours of the morning in a rush of these nostalgic, moving feelings overcoming me. Growing up is just a process of growing into ourselves. That’s the hardest part. Overcoming those insecurities in ourselves to wholly embrace ourselves.
I have faith that life will end up where it’s supposed to if we are honest to our hearts and minds.
Keep in touch. I’d love to hear about your journey!
This is such a great piece, especially around the lines of self-reflection. Always looking forwards to reading your posts 🙂 -Hannah
Aww thank you so much! I find so many people never quite look into themselves. They’re so focused on pleasing others that they never look into pleasing themselves.