Last week a friend sent me a picture of us from 10 years ago, it came up as a reminder on her facebook. Having shut down my own personal facebook long ago I do not have as many pictures of that time, nor do I receive random reminders of memory lane. Unless I go through the effort of finding photo albums, either physical or virtual ones, when I think back to that time the images all seem to fade into one another. I don’t know if it is the sleep deprivation, cabin fever, the new decade, or because I feel like a very haggard version of myself lately, but looking at 2010 me stirred up a reaction. Normally you see something from that era and think cringe I can’t believe I wore that or oh that’s what my perky boobs looked like, but yesterday I remembered how insecure I was – as I am sure most people are during that time of their life. I didn’t have the highest level of confidence in my appearance unlike my dry sense of humour and sense of direction, whether appreciated or not I had great mojo in. But my body, my weight, my hair, my teeth, my skin, my height, my nose, my teeth again, none of it was right. Also, there was the quarter life crisis, a bigger life out there waiting for me that I didn’t know how to get to, on the exterior I was one facade but interior there were so many versions of me fighting to be heard and none of them were good enough. Now looking back, with the emotional experiences of risks taken, heartbreaks, betrayals, naivety slowly, very slowly making space for wisdom, and with plenty more physical battle wounds from belly laughs, adult stressors and children reflecting back to me; yesterday I didn’t see that person in the picture that I have in my minds eye. I see a happy, young, put together, wrinkle free, glowing skinned, excited woman… maybe it was the Burt Reynolds or Lemon Drops that added that extra Va Va Voom. Knowing how hard I was on myself then and seeing that me, I would use one of my three wishes to go back in time and give her a reality check. And yet here we are again…
Like a lot of humans juggling, holding onto, balancing, I understand that I am no longer a young adult, that I am a mother, that I developed a career, am/have a plus one, but what does that mean for my personal fabric, essence, the ego, the me?
There are moments when I catch a glimpse in the mirror or a window when I am passing by and I can faintly recognize the person I hear in the quiet minutes, the one in the archives. A flash of her comes out when I am in the world, not parked in family parking, sans chizzlers, nor balancing a car seat and a toddler, (not how I thought I would get biceps) and I forget that yet again I am in some variation of sweatpants, that I haven’t put on a scrap of make-up, or coloured/cut my hair in the past six months (the lack of effort I put into myself, the Europeans would be ashamed if they saw how one of their descendants leaves the house some days) and I have a witty back and forth with a stranger – for that minute in time I feel like perhaps my mojo isn’t that far gone, only dormant. or hibernating.
I think back to before this time of my life, when I was self-partnered like the woman in the picture, (side note, wish that was a term instead of hopelessly single when I was rocking the status) or when there were just two of us, to who I was during that period, my inner dialogues, the priorities I had (mostly shallow), my persona and brand. Like most good brands I diversified, I did takeovers, I had mergers, I grew and in there I might have muddled the persona of me. Now of course brands change, adapt, modify, evolve with the times, Coke is still a drink but as of 1929 no longer has any actual cocaine in it (also named after the the coca leaves and kola nuts that were in the recipe not the drug). I do miss the image, the exterior, the old packaging even if at that time I didn’t appreciate it.
So now, I sit in my country living room in the afternoon winter sun with my littlest storyteller beside me thinking back on all the clichés of life. This is the first time in my life that I think I have stopped moving and am just living. I have arrived at some sort of a destination – most definitely I hope the first stop amongst many. However, this leg of my life journey was quite a long and winding one and now to have a pause can be a bit daunting. I am not good at being still, idle, calm… this is not my natural state, (a kindred spirit I found in my partner and that we passed along to our children if their lack of sitting still is anything to go by) although something I feel I should embrace and breathe in, because as they say it goes by fast.
So there will be times I may be nostalgic for the person who wore a few dress sizes smaller, had great hair, could dedicate the energy to the latest make-up trends; the wild one, with her free spirit. The person that had a disposable income to go out when they wanted to, take fabulous vacation, to have their partner all to themselves. It will take a while to figure out how to showcase and own all the mes and what they represent, at the same time consolidate to one strong ever-changing brand. Because while I don’t have my sexy back yet (thanks JT), haven’t learnt to embrace the life lines, or how to compartmentalize and live in harmony at the same time, I do have little people who think my demonic shadow puppet bunny is amazing, who can fall asleep in the ergobaby even when I am trying out my old club moves to dance mix 92′-96′; I have a person who supports all versions of me and not only accepts my weird but encourages it, and lastly I have a pretty wicked sense of direction so I have to believe that I can use it to find my selfhood.
I would hate if in 10 years a reminder popped up and showed me this time of my life and I would feel the need to use a second wish to go back and knock some sense into now me…