A friend on FB asked if there were photos of me from an earlier time in my life (a time I had just shared some non-me photos of: pics of buildings, autumn leaves etc.)
There is a part of me (even tho I have come a long way in terms of developing self-esteem independent from looks) that has some hangups about this & that related to posting photos of my younger selves.
For most of my young life, I guess from my tweens right up til my mid-40s, I was very invested in the idea of myself as “beautiful” in the very harshly strictly societally defined way. And I invested my energies accordingly, much to my own detriment.
Fortunately the part of me that insisted on devoting more energy to the inner path, education, personal growth, being in service, making a better world, has won out.
But when I look at photos of my younger selves the memories are bittersweet. Like, OK, I got some major kind of buzz out of being pretty and skinny. But also, I remember how I FELT inside … and I feel a lot better now let me tell you!
Still I feel shy about people’s judgment if I were to post photos of younger me. “Wow, she has really let herself go hasn’t she!” “Oh poor thing, she lost her looks and her skinny figure.”
Even though I actually on the inside feel so much stronger, genuinely happy, less brittle, not hanging by a thread, not caught up in drama. And even though I have become MILITANT about standing up to “skinny culture,” and defending women from fat-shaming.
I go about my day feeling happy in my self, happy in my body, comfortable in my skin. But once in a while I catch a glimpse at myself in a shop window reflection or something and I get a horrified backlash reaction that’s like a message coming forward in time from my young, vain, super-skinny self (who never thought she was pretty enough or thin enough).
Sometimes I tell her, “It’s OK though! We are SO happy now!! And I think we are probably a lot nicer to the world!”
This year I turned 60 and am so grateful. So yes I might sometime post photos of my younger self … but don’t be surprised if I don’t.
Freedom has many dimensions. So does beauty.