By: Kate Krassowski, Regular Contributor
Do you ever look at an old picture of yourself and wish you could see the world through the eyes of the child smiling back at you? I do. And recently I have decided to fight for that perspective again.
From the time I was a child until I was about 20 I had an unstoppable passion for life. I was kind to others, and I treated myself with compassion. In the last four years, however, I found myself only outwardly happy, always smiling no matter what was going on in my personal life. When I had time to reflect on how I was really feeling, I was bitter, lonely, and I tended to tear myself down. What made me so negative towards myself and towards those I cared about? Was this the person I wanted to become?
And then I remembered her.
That girl who was the happiest kid in the world and whose smile was so big that her eyes would close. Her soul was captivating and beautiful. She made friends easily and loved people. She even made friends for her big sister because she was too shy to make them herself. This girl ate cake like nobody’s business and assured her father that she wouldn’t get a stomachache if she ate the whole thing because she would only take little bites.
I miss her.
I was her.
As I looked back to the child I was, I felt heartbroken about some of the decisions I had made on her behalf. I felt like I wasn’t making her proud by being that version of myself. That dreamer deserved better. THAT GIRL deserved better.
I had forgotten the simplicity of life. Yes, technically it gets more complicated as we get older with finances and jobs, but the stripped down, acoustic version of life, is simple. It’s about developing relationships not only with others but also with yourself. It’s about being happy with who you are so you can bless the people around you.
Life is about moments. That moment my best friend and I got locked in her closet for hours, forced to eat chocolate chips and play Go Fish until someone found us. That time when I was 18 and the boy I was so in love with asked me to prom. It should be about going on long runs with my dad or spending time shopping with my mom. It should also be about growing and moving on from the times that broke my heart. That day in 7th grade when a girl in my class told me she was worried she would one day wake up fat, like me. Or the part when that boy, the one who asked me to prom, ditched me the next day for someone else. Or the time when my boyfriend of four years stopped saying “I love you.”
I never wanted to protect that little girl from the world hurting her, and I don’t wish that her life was perfect. If anything, I am grateful for the hard times that taught me more about myself. However, I am disappointed in how I have carried the weight of those experiences for years. I want to soften my heart, and I want it to be full of love like it was when I was young. I wish for that optimism I had.
Today, when I start thinking "you’re not pretty enough, you’re not smart enough, why would he love you," I picture telling those things to that little girl. I imagine saying to her that she’s not enough, stops me dead in my tracks. I am better than that, and that little girl is worth encouraging and supporting even 20 years later. Don’t let yourself down. More importantly, don’t tear yourself down. Believe again in those dreams you had as a child. Be joyful and passionate. You are strong and worth everything.
She moved to Los Angeles a year and a half ago from Cleveland, OH after graduating with a B.A in Film Production from BGSU. She is passionate about speaking out against how women are viewed in the media and being part of changing it.
Featured image via reflections220.blogspot.com