Stop Looking at Yourself That Way


There is an age that every woman keeps in their mind; the age where all the jeans fit, we are able to see ourselves as beautiful, and our social lives were buzzing faster than a vibrator. We were satisfied inward and out. 

Mine was seventeen. I was dating the love of my life, I had just bought my sister's share of the '73 baby blue Volkswagen bug so it was all mine. It was also the year I was at the top of my ball game having received the First Team PIL (Portland Interscholastic League) Award for a successful softball season throwing people out at home from center field. I was also a scholar athlete. I was the shit.

Most look to their former self  for the wrong reasons; she was thinner than I am now, she was younger, she had no wrinkles: "I want that back" some would say. I've been guilty of exhibiting these behaviors as well. I'm no better.

A few years back I started to admire my seventeen year old self and starting asking questions of her, having become so far removed from my former self I became thought of in the third person: what did that girl have then that she doesn't have now that made her feel like she was the shit? I had taken to processing my life as being a witness to it instead of the owner of it, and I became disgusted with what I had seen.

That seventeen-year-old girl had a lot of confidence. Through the cracks I could start to see her in me again, and that girl just wouldn't stand for my behavior any longer. I was beating myself up and it was high time to issue myself a cease and desist order.

What I saw in my stretch marks and under eyes was the weight of personal failure after failure. I didn't see a bad ass. Blinded by the physical signs of aging, I was unable see that the wisdom I now possessed could only have been obtained through struggle, instead I only saw the wrinkles the process had unveiled. Wrinkles that come with a life having been lived. I had become a stranger to myself, barely recognizable. 

Exhausted, I decided to finally forgive myself. Watching myself in the third person had humanized and humbled me. What I started seeing was all the success I had achieved amidst all of that personal failure. Adversity is required for growth, but growth comes with a price. The weight of self-judgment had become such a burden that it blinded my ability to see the best parts of me: the ability to see the confidence I knew I had in myself that was there all along, it was just buried under years of bullshit. Bad personal relationships had helped to weaken its strength. But once I forgave myself I stopped seeing a warn down middle-aged woman and instead started seeing someone who had become more empowered and confident by having conquered the struggles. I felt gratitude for having been sent the life lessons others wouldn't have a chance to experience.

My bats are now longer, my balls are bigger, and now that all my personal shit has sorted itself out I've stretched myself so far that now I need a bigger life to fill it.

FILED UNDER: #EmotionalGangsta