Sunday, January 19, 2014

Day 167 of 365: How Far We've Come

A former high school classmate of mine posted pictures yesterday of our 2005 senior year festivities: our senior cruise, our barbecue, and our graduation ceremony. It blows my mind that I'm almost 9 years out of high school -- and that our 10-year is just around the corner (that is, if we have a 10-year reunion; I trust Weymouth to host a high school reunion as much as I trust Weymouth to rid itself of its opiate problem).

It's interesting to see these pictures and see who has changed and who looks exactly like they did in 2005. And some people do: just from lurking on Facebook, I know that the person in those 2005 pictures and the person in their respective Facebook profiles are almost identical. Others don't. I know I'm one of them. Honestly, aside from the fact that I'm always the tallest person in the picture, there is nothing that I have in common with that girl from 2005.

For one, I went blonde sometime in high school. I fell into the "blonde is beautiful" trap, grabbed some blonde-from-a-box, and took on the blonde persona for a whopping four years (until my sophomore year of college, when I finally wised up). It wasn't a good look. And, to be honest, neither were the looks post-blonde, when I'd dye my hair all shades of brown, black, and auburn, all in an effort to balance out that time I peroxided my hair to shit.

I was also a lot bigger than than I am now. I was never chubby, not by any stretch of the imagination (except for the modeling world; but then again, I'm still considered chubby by the modeling world), but 2005 me had a solid 20 pounds of who I am now (and that's even after factoring in all the muscle from running/strength training). I had a rounder face that I was super self-conscious of, which meant I only half-smiled, tucking the corners of my mouth into the sides of my cheeks and making me look even mousier and unsure than I did before.

And then there's the makeup and clothing styles. I can't rag on the fashion and style trends of the early 2000s too much. There's enough ridiculousness going on with current fashion trends. That's not what really makes the difference. The striking contrast lies in the intent behind the styling. I wore what I thought was cool. I wore what I thought made me look better than the oafish nerd that I was. I had zero self-esteem, and that showed in how I presented myself; especially in how I tried to hide that fact. Granted, my fashion stylings aren't the best now: between teaching tai chi and going to yoga classes, I'm in perpetual yoga-pants-and-tank-top mode, but it's my mode, that I wear with pride. I put on a coat of mascara, not because I wished others wouldn't see me as ugly, but because I enjoy how my eyes pop with a simple bit of makeup.

The amount that I have in common with 2005 is slim to none. Not just on a physical, but on a personal and mental level. I let romantic slip-ups ruin me. I wondered what I was doing wrong to have guys cheat on me, or dump me for their exes. I believed that I deserved nothing good and everything bad. Every step was an unsure one.

I'm still learning. I'm still trying to figure myself out, what makes me tick, what drives me forward (and what I can do when I find roadblocks). But it's a far cry from where I was in 2005. It's a far cry from where I was in 2010. Or 2011. Or even 2012.

During my most recent run, I encountered a pretty steep downhill slope. I did all the things you're supposed to do: go as flatfoot as possible, lean my body forward, and -- most importantly -- I ran without being afraid of the forward momentum. Halfway through, I couldn't help but laugh. It figured I would find a life philosophy while attempting to pick up speed and get rest at the same time: don't be afraid of the forward momentum.

If there is ever a 10-year anniversary, you can put your sweet ass I'll be there. Former student on the outer rungs of the social ladder transformed into a agency-repped model, writer, and one of the few people who properly "got out of Weymouth". And even if I didn't have the aforementioned, I'd be walking in a completely different person.

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