Beauty in Stages: Reflections on My Younger Self

Closeup decorative grunge vintage woman with beautiful long hair

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.

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33 Responses to Beauty in Stages: Reflections on My Younger Self

  1. Pingback: The Beauty of a Woman BlogFest III: Original Edition | August McLaughlin's Blog

  2. Ah, the awkward years… LOL What woman can’t relate to that??? I love this, Barbara! Your format could be used as a template for an awesome, reflective exercise – and your writing, as always, is lovely. 🙂 Thank you for participating in the fest!

  3. I love the way you characterize a woman’s changes through the years. I remember the high school years. I remember that I always looked different because I chose to make my own clothes and make them the way I wanted them to not the way the designers did. I love that your post took me back down memory lane.

    • Thanks for reading and the supportive comments, Kathryn! Yes, I fancied myself to be a flower-child throwback mixed with theater quirk and east coast chic. Ha ha. I wore what I wanted and was happy.

  4. Jenny Hansen says:

    Barbara, this post ROCKS!! What a fantastic way to chronicle a girl’s journey. I’ve got to go share this widely now.

  5. WOW, Barbara. That was brilliant and moving. Beautifully worded, and so loving. Well done, m’dear.

  6. katybrandes says:

    If only we knew then to block out that “chatter,” huh?
    Great post!

  7. Raani York says:

    I love this post!! It’s unique!!

  8. What an awesome chronicle to youth and lessons learned along the way! You’re so right about the beauty in each of those moments, too. Thanks for sharing!

  9. I really enjoyed the format and observations, and especially how kind and gentle you were to your younger self. We all should be so compassionate toward earlier versions of ourselves.

    • Audrey, I can share the kindness came with time. I used to heckle many of my past choices until I learned to view them not from what I thought was lost, but from what I gained. Thanks for stopping by!

  10. Just like a writer! I could see the movie of this playing as I read through your memories. Thanks for making this so personal and full of meaning. You are so beautiful!

  11. lynnkelleyauthor says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed your post, Barbara. One of my favorite lines, “The makings of a moody poet are afoot.” That’s great! I love how you’ve captured the various stages of your life. Beautiful post!

  12. We go through a lot to get to where we are. Sometimes it feels like absolute torture. Sometimes bliss. But it all boils down to us. Our core. It’s all good. WE are all good.

  13. Marcia says:

    I loved getting to know you better through this piece, Barbara! Boy, can I relate! High school was especially tough for me. Look at the woman you are now. there is beauty in your strength to keep creating the best Barbara you can be. You’re going to love your 40s, 50s and beyond! We get such a clear understanding of our past and move into a healthier and happier older life where we let go of the hurts and struggles and relish our maturity. Love you, my friend!

    • Thanks, Marcia! Every woman has a unique life story, yet there are so many things we can find to relate to on the path. Oh to have the youthful energy of high school paired with the clarity and maturity of today. Love you too!

  14. Great post, Barbara. Mathair and I loved your format. It’s great to take those moments and reflect on them. It makes embracing who you’ve become so much easier. My high school years were probably the most definitive. Though they were hell, they’ve made me who I am today and I have to be grateful for them (as hard as that may be);) Mathair always told me things happen for a reason and we can either wallow in them, or use them to be stronger. Looks like you’ve done the same and kudos to you for that. Happy BOAW

  15. Love love love this. So true! It’s all about embracing the change and finding the beauty in that. Thank you for sharing!

    • Thank you for stopping by, Ingrid, and for your comment. Exactly, change appreciated for what it is versus being seen in a negative light. For the difficult moments, we can look for the beauty that will follow.

  16. Pingback: Inspiring Beauty Quotes: A #BOAW3 Wrap-Up, Part II | August McLaughlin's Blog

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