I've made many changes in my life and at the same time I've changed nothing. I am still me. There aren't many photos of me in my younger years. This is one of the earliest, the beginning of me.
So keep this concept in your mind as I tie this into weight. Over my lifetime I have had HUGE changes in weight. I got really fat in early adulthood, stayed fat for a while and then lost 100 pounds (I did this twice). This expression look familiar? I was rocking the multiple chins, eh?
I'm mentally wandering around a bit here but these thoughts have been on my mind and I'm hoping with this post I can let them rest for awhile. Now follow me into another aspect of this whole thing.
It seems like it wasn't that long ago that I was a young girl in elementary school. I remember when my family would drive to visit relatives (taking us from the rural environment to the big city just outside Chicago). We'd make a day of it, hopping from one relative's house to another. Then at the end of the day, after it was already dark, I would ride home in the back of the car with my head tipped back in the seat looking up at the darkened sky, As I took in the passing lights I would let my mind wander into what life would be like when I grew up. It was something I always pondered during these car rides and over the years developed a fairly detailed vision of the future.
So the years passed and "shit happened". The court called me incorrigible but I like to think of it as courageously thinking outside the box. When I graduated highschool I was still rocking the same expression (far right).
Later that evening . . .
In the blink of an eye I was "all grown up" (I've enjoyed many laughs at my youthful thinking). I wasn't too concerned about the future. By this point I'd daydreamed about it for so many years that I just assumed one day it would come true, all by itself. So in the meantime, I just had fun doing the things that in hindsight I probably should never had done. But I had always been fearless about pushing limits and nothing was going to change anytime soon about that. Afterall, I was still me. I was brave and confident. I left home and moved 1500 miles away only to find out the one person I knew there was an abusive drunk. Years later my mother said she never had to worry about me because I always landed on my feet. Of course the thought in the back of my head was that she should have worried . . . a lot!
So life went on. I got married at a way too young age with absolutely no expectation that it would last forever. Now as I think about that I sort of laugh because that was me. I was realistic and knew that it would be just for a time. It turned out that it took 13 years before my patience exceeded its limitations and I decided the time was up. I needed to grow and couldn't do it within the constraints of an insecure, jealous spouse who was satisfied with things I was not. I decided it was time to grow up. So I told him to go ahead and keep the last 13 years. I was going on by myself to make a new life. And with the same bravery that I had when I was much younger, I walked away. My co-workers were astonished remarking that they had never seen anyone who could make major changes so easily. I made up my mind and that was it. I was done. That was me. When I'm done, I'm done.
So for the next five years or so, I enjoyed the freedom to make choices based only on what I wanted, needed and desired. For the first time I felt like I was really me and I felt my spirit soar! The freedom of just being me was so liberating that I decided I would guard myself from any decision that could ever threaten that again. I made no apologies. I was me and will always be me and if anyone had a problem with that then I did not take any ownership in their problem. I am who I am!
Eventually I met and married my husband. He totally accepted me for who I was and supported me in anything I wanted to do. He was (and remains) the master of going with the flow when it comes to me. Finally I felt like I could share my life with someone and still be me. I decided I wanted to go to university and get a degree. My first husband was very threatened by that desire and threw a cog every time I tried to make a step in that direction. But this husband supported me all the way.
Wait a minute, is that the same expression as that first baby photo? Yup, I'm still me!
So by now you're probably wondering how all this randomness is going to tie in. Hang on, we're almost there. Decades have passed and I find myself growing older. I'm now to the point that my outward appearance has started changing. And because I look different on the outside, just like the obese person who is lost in the body that is slowly extinguishing them from themselves, I'm finding that some people are reacting to me differently, placing me in a different category with different expectations and assumptions about who I am. It doesn't happen often, not yet anyway, but it has happened enough times that my alarm has sounded.
Wait a minute! I am still me! I still laugh at the most inappropriate things. I am smart. I will speak up when I see something that is wrong. I am not afraid to stand up for what I believe in. I am not afraid to think differently. I don't feel pressure to conform to the group and have no problem going left when everyone else is going right. I will not quietly give into this thing called age until one day I am no longer relevant. Don't discount me just because I am older! Yes, there may be changes. My hair may be grayer, my face may show more wrinkles, my skin is no longer young looking. But make no mistake I am, and always will be STILL ME!
Tomorrow (Saturday, May 21st), I will turn 60 years old. I'm gonna rock the hell out of this "old age" shit!