“I looked at my reflection in the mirror before heading out the door to run an errand – in public, where I knew I would see actual human beings, probably even some that I know personally.
I had dried peanut butter smeared all over my sweatshirt from lunch – which needed to be washed, because I bought it on sale and forgot to read the tag that says “dry clean only” and nobody has time for dry clean only. My dirty hair was in a very messy bun, and not the stylish kind that says I’m glowing and I woke up like this, but really I took an hour to get ready this morning. The actual messy bun. The one that says I haven’t had my full 8 hours of sleep in months and I literally can’t even right now.
I had accidentally forgotten to change out of my fuzzy slippers and into real shoes, so there was that. And I was wearing the same Lululemon workout pants I skipped class in Friday to have coffee with my friend, because out of a giant stack of jeans, these leggings are all that fit me right now, comfortably at least.
Obviously, I wasn’t wearing makeup. I should’ve been. I broke out last week, and the red acne scars were pretty obvious on my cheek, but instead of getting myself ready this morning, I got my kids ready. Instead of making myself up, I was busy making lunches.
And I just laughed.
I honestly don’t know that 22-year-old me would recognize me right now.
22-year-old me, the one who didn’t leave her room, much less the house, without a full face of makeup. The one who fixed her hair every single day, sometimes twice, at morning and at night. The one who spent 2 full hours in the bathroom, you know – because she could.
22-year-old me, the one with the super flat tummy and the perky chest. The one who was uncomfortable in a two-piece bathing suit, and would stand in front of a full-length mirror at ‘The Buckle’ wondering ‘do these size 2 jeans make me look fat?’ (No. No honey, they absolutely do not. Wear them proudly, girlfriend, and buy them in every color.)
22-year-old me, the one with a closet full of fancy tops for going out. The one with 3-inch heels and more wedges than she could count. The one who literally did not own a single plain t-shirt. The tan one, the skinny one. 22-year-old me, the one who looked good everywhere she went, because that’s what mattered to her.
I wonder if she’d recognize me now.
I wonder if she’d be embarrassed.
I wonder if she’d be proud.
I wonder if she’d go into Anaphylactic shock. I wonder if she’d need an EpiPen to get her up off the floor when she found out I don’t judge myself based solely on my looks anymore. I wonder if she’d be worried about how pasty pale I am. If I wonder if she’d be freaked out by how much sunscreen I put on when I go outside now, because wrinkles. I wonder if she’d be grossed out how many days I go without washing my hair, and how long I wait between highlighting appointments; you know, because of budgets and all. I wonder if she’d be bummed out to find I even had a budget at all.
I wonder if she’d be taken aback to find out I don’t care that much what people think. I wonder if she’d be sad to find out I’d rather stay home on a Saturday than go out. I wonder if she’d be bored to find out I am one of those lame moms who has a necklace with all her children’s initials. I wonder if she’d make me a doctor’s appointment if she knew I peed a little when I sneeze now.
I wonder if she’d be startled to find out I don’t have a huge group of friends, but I do have a tribe who is stuck together like glue, through the good and the bad. I wonder if she’d be okay to find out my life ended up pretty basic and boring. I wonder if she’d be shocked to find out how much happiness and contentment I’ve created in these little simple things.
I wonder if she’d be alarmed to find out how much of a fighter I’ve become. I wonder if she’d be blown away to find out I finally have the job of my dreams, and I don’t make any money doing it. (Sorry, college degree.) I wonder if she’d be amazed to find out I’ve finally forgiven myself for all of the stupid choices I made back then.
That I’ve finally let go.
That I’ve finally moved on.
That I’ve finally learned from it all and am better and stronger and more at peace because of it.
I wonder if she’d recognize me.
Because I’m nothing like the woman she envisioned I would be. Nothing at all. But honestly, I’m better and braver and more beautiful than I ever thought I could become.
I wonder if she’d recognize me.
But for the first time since I can remember, I like the girl I see, and that’s the only thing that really matters.”
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