(November 29, 2017, My senior pictures from October 2015)
As I looked through the photo album of my senior pictures from high school the other day, I realized something:
I’m not that girl anymore.
The girl in the photos.
I know when I say that some of you think: “Alright Cam, calm down; you’re only nineteen, not suddenly some grandma who has all this wisdom to impart.”
But it’s true:
I’m not her.
My face isn’t as round.
The circles under my eyes are a little darker (thanks, college).
And I’ve gotten a little taller (well, that’s kind of an iffy one).
I hear my dad say all the time about my siblings and I: “My kids are all grown up.”
Usually I just roll my eyes and laugh, but now I realize that he’s right;
I’m growing up.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a teenager and still have a lot to learn, but at the same time I realize that the day I’ve always waited patiently for is here.
I’m not a kid anymore, I’m a young woman.
Gah, that feels weird to write.
For as long as I can remember, I waited and waited for the day that some gears in my head would shift and click into place, for the day I would step into my own and finally feel grown up…
Here it is.
Is this really what it feels like?
It kind of sucks, actually; realizing that you aren’t what you used to be and never will be again.
But it’s also good; I guess it’s “all part of the process” as they say.
Sometimes I miss her.
She was funny and naïve and everything in the world around her was exciting and new.
It was a season of firsts.
First prom, first kiss, first love, first car accident (hopefully there won’t be too many more of those later on down the line…), first breakup.
When I think about it, it’s almost sad because I’m not her anymore.
I’m heavier now; not just physically, but also emotionally and mentally.
I’ve experienced a little more, been carefree a little less.
There’s more to me now, more of me.
And while sometimes I miss that girl and occasionally long to relive those firsts, I don’t wish to be her.
Because, sure, that girl was light and airy, but she could also be reckless in her ignorance.
For example, she wouldn’t have been caught dead eating anything with honey on it, but I simply can’t get enough of it. My daydreams consist of warm biscuits drizzled with honey. Man, did she miss out!
But she’s a part of me.
Always will be.
Every now and then, I’ll catch glimpses of that seventeen year old girl in the mirror and I’ll smile because I know she’s still with me somehow.
Or I’ll be out and see that silly old crush that I invested so much emotion in and feel the light sting of nostalgia.
Or I’ll open that perfume bottle that I haven’t touched in a while and old memories will come flooding back.
I think of her every now and then whenever I mess up or make a mistake.
And it’s hard not to compare myself to her.
I have found myself crying in the shower, wondering:
Where did she go? Why am I not her anymore? What has happened to me?
Dark thoughts for a girl who is only nineteen.
But when I crawl out of that dark place and see the light, I realize something:
If I was the same person I was at seventeen, I’d be doing something wrong.
I mean, would I really want to walk in all that I’ve gone through all over again, right now?
Would I really prefer that all my past wounds still be open and unhealed?
We all do that, don’t we?
Compare what we’re going through now to what we went through in previous years, thinking:
Man, I had it so easy.
But while I had some great times back then, I also stumbled and experienced obstacles that were more than difficult.
Do I really want to be crying in my bedroom again because I’m unsure of the future to come?
Do I really want to be back in that doctor’s office wondering if the state of my physical heart would ever be repairable?
The answer is no.
I would absolutely not want to be walking through that at this very moment.
If I had to I would, but I by no means would want to experience that all over again.
One of my best friends recently mentioned how she loved receiving a little shout out in my last letter, and here I am quoting her again! She said:
“Sometimes it’s so comfortable staying and living in our hurt because we want to be justified.”
I find the same to be true with our pasts.
We so desperately want to post a status or picture on social media and say: Look at me! Look how cool I was there! Look how much I went through! Comment telling me how strong and amazing I am!
That one hurt me a little.
I’m not saying it’s not good to share your accomplishments and what you’ve overcome with others. In fact, that’s awesome!
What I’m saying is, if we’re not careful we can get caught up living in the past and wishing we were our yesterdays when our todays are pretty great.
Perhaps I’m just writing this for myself, or maybe I’m writing this for you that’s reading, whoever you are.
For that person who thinks about the boy or girl they used to be and says to themselves:
Will I ever be that great again?
I’m going to suggest something.
Can we throw away that whole concept of figuring out when our ‘prime’ is?
Our prime is right here, right now!
My prime was yesterday.
My prime is today.
My prime is tomorrow.
I’m always in my prime because my heart is beating and there’s breath in my lungs.
I’m not who I once was, and thank God.
But I still look back at her from time to time and smile.
Because I know this:
The best is here and the best is yet to come.
(P.S. “So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever!
-2 Corinthians 3:11 NLT)