This all began with a photograph.
I have never truly considered myself beautiful. Pretty, maybe, but not beautiful. My face has scars from an acne-filled adolescence (and 20’s, to be honest, as I’ve never been completely blemish-free). My eyes slope a bit. I have glasses. My top lip curves my mouth into a frown, caused by my younger self playing under a table on vacation and hitting it on the naked metal edge when I came back up to the surface, severing the muscle that holds it down. I haven’t been hugely popular with the guys, and never really had any aspirations to be a beauty queen.
Aging happens gradually when we’re there every day. I still, at times, feel like a college student -- all those freedoms and growing responsibilities -- instead of a woman in her late 20’s.
(And oh, does it hurt to admit that!)
I’ve always felt like a kid pretending to be an adult. There are circumstances in my life that have kept me from some rights of passage, such as getting my own apartment (lasted a few months), having a steady job (part-time only, and only with poor health as a result), going out with friends my age (most of my friends are older than me!). And so, I’ve always felt like an impostor in an older body. I’m blessed with that sought-after You-Look-Younger-Than-You-Are appearance, and I don’t know if that’s genetics or an outward projection of internal feelings.
I spoke last week about striving to be an Ideal You, and when I saw this photograph, I had to stop and look.
How can that woman possibly be me?
She has the beauty I’ve always wanted. The age and experience in hazel-green eyes. Her hair actually looks good. Brilliant, even. Make-up is just perfect -- not too much, but just enough.
Even a week after finding it, I still find myself looking at the photograph, trying to find some trace of myself in the image. In all honesty, it isn’t a photograph -- it is a still from a video I filmed a few weeks ago, just a random spot I paused on to run from the room for a reason I can no longer remember. But I remember walking back into the room, catching the preview window in the corner of my eye, and feeling my breath catch.
Now, when I’m ‘faking it ‘till I make it,’ I know that I’ve already made it, and on those days when I feel silly-young or out of my depth, I can just glace over and know reaching my Ideal You isn’t a level you reach and maintain, but one you hit, on your amazing days, and strive for on your lowest ones.