Birth to the Early Years – The doctor said you were the mirror image of your older sister when you came out. You had a little less hair and smaller eyes, but were quite similar in black and white ‘70s photo print. You spent a lot of time chilling in a high-chair while watching people swirl around you. Observation is a smart move. Keep in mind actions over any words you ever hear. There is beauty in your curiosity.
Kindergarten – On picture day, you are going to want to put water from the fountain on your hair. Yes, the other kids are doing it to slick down wayward cowlicks. Trust me on this one. Your hair is a beautiful, thick kinky grade that slicks by oil better than water. The water will turn Mom’s plaited masterpiece into a dense poof, which equals funky pictures. Don’t worry. Though Mom gets mad, she buys the pictures anyway. I wish you knew that kinky hair is cool. You’ll forget that around fourth grade. You’ll be too young to understand beauty doesn’t come from a bottle and be swayed by the pressure to appear to have “good hair.” There is beauty in your naivety.
First to Third Grade – Having learned from the water bomb incident a few years back, you now take rocking pics. You’ve thrived through a family move and three schools in as many years. I love the mischievous dance of light in your eyes and your spirit for laughter and fun. Tuck that away. There is beauty in your joy.
Fourth to Six Grade – Dare we call these the awkward years? In fifth grade, you’ll wish for wider hips to balance out your sprouting height and give you curves. Nice wish, smarty! Oh, you get a bounty of hips later. There is beauty in your wishes.
Seventh to Eighth Grade – You struggle to embrace a style to make an unfortunate haircut work for you. You look at the other girls who have blossomed, then establish a core of buddies who are gawky like you. By eighth grade, the bad haircut has grown out and you find your wings. Make the cheerleading squad, make the women’s choir, made the Junior Theater Ensemble for next year. You are singing and dancing and fearless. Remember that feeling. There is beauty in your life flame.
High School – The makings of a moody poet are afoot. Your style is a parade of all black topped by an oversized wool coat, a swiped hand-me-down from your father, and tassel boots. You move in and around these years as parts of your world crash and turn. There is beauty in your words.
The College Years – Walking to your own life beat, you avoid the freshmen 15 to tack on the junior 30. Then 40. Then 50. I love your knack for tucking the rolls under looser fitting, yet still stylish clothes. There is truth that it is what’s eating you from the inside that drives what you eat on the outside. Slow down. There is beauty in your learning.
Mid-20s – So this is what the work world is like? You want to go back to college now. To take more time. To get more sleep. Yeah, I know you do. You fall into your first career then pace your footing in the business world, teach yourself about all things Microsoft and thrive. There is beauty in your focus.
Rounding 30s – You feel like you’ve gone the path of the clichéd hell in a hand basket. Where goals put in journals a decade ago are not met and dreams are a distant memory. You walk away from one career to cast yourself into another. You learn all the chatter from the outside world is their issue not yours. You learn to be mindful. And if something fails, you know you can reinvent yourself. If I could give any message to my younger self, it is that simple truth. There is beauty in your change.
This piece was written as part of the Beauty of a Woman Blogfest. Make sure you swing by August McLaughlin’s fabulous blog to read and share thoughts on the other pieces by Wednesday March 3 for a chance to win one of two $50 gift cards.