Today, I looked at old photos.
Now for some people, this may be a sacred practice (I can tell just by the popularity of #TBT) but for me, it’s one that I try not to do. The motion of my life has always been forward no matter what and looking at old photos just deterred me from that. But today, right before work, I took a leap of faith and looked photos from what I claim to be my golden year – the year 2015.
It was the year I fell in love, broke my heart, traveled 3,000 miles, only to fall in love (again!), have my heart broken (again!), and ultimately find the love of my life. It was a brilliant year filled with tears but also sprinkled with the right doses of bravery.
When I look back to my 27-year-old self, two thoughts come to me: she had so much courage but at the same time, also so naive. I grieve for her because of the things she is about to through to get to where I am today but at the same time, I couldn’t help but quietly applaud her because she endured her worst fears and emerged better than she ever was.
And by better, I don’t mean angelic. I don’t understand why the culture ultimately associates being the better version of ourselves with being good or nice. When in fact “better” means that you went deep within yourself, confronted your demons, and liberated yourself from situations that did not make you blissful or left you constrained. And more often than not, better also includes making better choices for ourselves rather than others.
Better also means challenging beliefs we grew up with, dismantling them, and give ourselves the freedom to relearn them, this time looking at it with greater consciousness and awareness.
But that’s a whole other story, one that might take longer to write.
Today is simply gratitude for what 2015 was to me and maybe, a confronting of a specific fear – there’s nothing wrong with looking back on old photos.
“Whatever happens to you belongs to you. Make it yours. Feed it to yourself even if it feels impossible to swallow. Let it nurture you, because it will.” – Cheryl Strayed