The Reality of Me

Posted on | June 19, 2012 | 9 Comments

When you get to a certain age… not old enough to be “old” and still young enough to remember being truly young, you start to reflect on all the different people you’ve been in your life and how they shaped and molded and tweaked you into the person you are today.  It may come as a surprise to those of you who know me now, but in high school I was sort of … quiet. 

Senior Picture, circa 1996

Not quiet in the traditional sense of hanging in the back ground and not fitting in to any conversation, but quiet in the sense of always feeling like I was somehow missing 90% of whatever joke was floating around.  I never felt comfortable speaking my mind or my thoughts because I always thought that whatever I was thinking was, well, probably wrong.  So I did a lot of laughing, a lot of smiling and nodding, and a lot of going home and rehashing conversations in my head and wondering if I’d said the wrong thing or laughed the wrong way or just… was…. wrong.  Case in point, I had a friend who I thought hung the moon.  I worshiped the quicksand he walked on and would have moved heaven and earth just for a chance that he would think of me as something more than… well… me… but I never did anything about it.  I never let him know. I was just… quiet.

I spent so much time worrying that everything about me was wrong… wrong hair, wrong smile, wrong clothes… that I forgot to just enjoy being me. I wasted so much time worrying that everyone hated me, that somehow they could all see how desperately uncool I was and any minute they’d all decide to never speak to me again.  I look back on pictures from that time and I shake my head, wondering why I felt the need to wear oversized shirts and pants, wallowing in clothes too big for my frame.  I’d kill to weigh what I weighed in high school, kill to look like what I looked like in high school… and sometimes, I’d kill to just be as carefree as I was in high school.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about those days because delving back into the world of dating makes me feel an awful lot like I felt as I wandered the halls of Page High in Greensboro… I feel different from everyone else… apart… separate.  I don’t feel like I quite grasp the right thoughts at the moment I’m supposed to have them.  In high school, I could mask it with an off color remark and a flippant hand gesture… at 34, it’s not so easy to mask.

I’m a fish out of water in this dating world.  I’m flailing around, wondering if I’m wearing the right clothes, the right face, the right attitude for this or that guy.  I’m scared to just be for fear that once again, it won’t be good enough.  I’m letting myself forget that I am 34 years old, a successful attorney, a mom, a friend… and maybe even a writer.  I don’t need to be ashamed of the lines on my face or the worry in my heart.  I should be proud of who I am because if high school taught me anything it’s this… in fifteen years, I will look back on the woman I am today with envy and awe.  In fifteen years, I will see pictures of myself and realize I was beautiful and smart and funny and I should have let people know the real me.

In fifteen years, I will wonder why I wasted the time I had or could have had, fifteen years before.

I was quiet in high school.  I didn’t date.  I didn’t even kiss a guy until I was 18 years old.  And, honestly?  I don’t regret a moment of my high school experience except that I didn’t let myself fully embrace the person that I was at that exact moment.

And I don’t want to be sitting, fifteen years from now, feeling the same way about the me that I am.  The real me.  The one I’m still maybe a bit too scared to show.


9 Responses to “The Reality of Me”

  1. Jana
    June 19th, 2012 @ 12:20 pm

    You were lovely then and lovely now.

  2. lawmomma
    June 19th, 2012 @ 1:44 pm

    I look so young!!!

  3. mae
    June 19th, 2012 @ 12:27 pm

    Damn… that’s a great post. Seriously.

  4. lawmomma
    June 19th, 2012 @ 1:44 pm

    Thanks, Mae. Seriously… thank you.

  5. Amy R
    June 19th, 2012 @ 8:22 pm

    seriously, did you sneak into my head without me knowing? Apparently, a lot of us felt this way…. and still do. Just doing the best we can and thank you for saying it so well 🙂

  6. Nissa Prochaska
    June 19th, 2012 @ 8:32 pm

    Very beautiful insights, and I can completely relate to your feelings. While not being single right now, just simply the fact that you should celebrate and appreciate where you’re at when you’re there so that you don’t look back and regret, very true and accurate for so many.

  7. KeAnne
    June 20th, 2012 @ 10:27 am

    First of all, Page High! I went to Davie High – I think we were in the same conference. Great post and like Amy said, I think you sneaked into my head! I’m only a year older than you are, and I am doing a lot of the same reflecting. I wasn’t like you in high school – I did theater and was a touch flamboyant and melodramatic, but now? Oh, do I feel the same way. I’ve never felt less confident about how I look, the lines on my face, what I wear, how to dress etc. And oddly enough, I think it’s blogging and tweeting and meeting people IRL that makes me feel that way. I’m not twee. I don’t shop at Anthropologie. My vocabulary isn’t right. I don’t craft. I could go on.

  8. JB
    June 21st, 2012 @ 1:31 pm

    Very introspective post! I think divorce shakes your foundation a little and preys on insecurities. One of my favorite quotes is “Life is at the end of your comfort zone.” Seems like a lot of us are living like that right now, learning new things and having to stretch way outside of our confidence levels. We will survive!

  9. Jenbesns
    June 23rd, 2012 @ 9:33 pm

    Wow. This post seriously gave me an “a-ha” moment. As I reached 40 this year, I do feel far enough away from my teens and twenties to look back longingly on those days when I was so young, so thin, and yet so self conscious! When I reflect on how I will long to be 40 again when I’m 55 or 60 really made me stop and think about how I should live
    more in the present than I have been and just accept myself as I am now for a change. Thank you for this insight!

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