How often do you look back on old photos of yourself and think oh Gosh,
"I was so skinny"
"I was so fit"
"I was so happy"
"I was so put together"
If this is you, I know how you have been feeling. Because some days I feel it too.
I have a painted picture of my youth, of my flat stomach, and unblemished skin. My healthier hair, and much more sanity. My fast metabolism. And easier lifestyle.
And it makes me feel really down.
Pictures of a thin waist and figure, are because at that time I barely had food. In fact, I was going to the local food pantry in the late evenings after work and having one meal a day.
I was dressed up fancy to go to a campus event, but I had not gone out in a while and was actually really depressed.
My boyfriend had not come to that, as he never went to anything of importance to me. I have no idea where he even was. Because he ghosted me a lot. And he was cheating.
I put on some makeup and did my hair, as the first night out after crippling depression that caused me to miss classes and work for a few days. I had just slept on my couch after putting my little girl on the campus bus to her elementary school. I would literally go in pj's and a jacket, hair in a messy bun, to her bus stop. And then get back into my little apartment, throw my jacket to the floor, and crawl with a blanket onto my couch to sleep for hours.
My apartment was a mess, because I did not have the money to do my laundry and lacked the interest in cleaning up anything.
And I did not want to tell my few friends on campus what was happening, because they all "seemed so put together" that I was ashamed.
My earlier years were hard.
My childhood was EXTREMELY HARD.
I would never go back to being any age under 21. It all was horrible then.
My twenties were as good as they could be, and boy do I have great memories from college.
But I also have many bad ones.
Many times I struggled and fought my way just to make it to where I am now.
So how could "me" now not feel satisfied enough?
It is because I need to heal. I need to learn to live in the moment. I need to build up gratitude, patience, and satisfaction with who I am in the moment.
Of course I can list out what I am grateful for. But that is not enough.
I need to STOP. NOW.
And take baby steps.
In order to appreciate what is around me and what I am thankful for, I need to feel grounded. I need to acknowledge my safety.
I need to hug and kiss the people I have. And embrace my partner. I need to acknowledge this beautiful life right now. For what it is.
My future self needs to look back on the woman I am now, how far she came and the journey it took to get there.
So my responsibility now is to just be.
Time will fly.
People will come and go.
My body will change in many ways.
My circumstances will change too.
But my mindset needs that inner work. My rational senses need to meet my emotions half way, to understand that each place I am at are all part of a bigger picture.
And that picture is going to be so beautiful.
Published by Jean Soto JS Jaded Savior blog: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jean Soto, mother of 3 and wife, is a writer + artist in the Hudson Valley, NY community.
Content mention of Rape, Abuse, Neglect, Addictions, Mental Illness, Kidnap, Molestation, Child abuse, Teen Pregnancy, Abortion, birth, body image, gender/identity dysphoria, sexuality, personal trauma, domestic violence and other extremely personal stories. Please practice caution. I am not a licensed physician or mental health professional. No medical prescribing is provided on this site, Only personal insights, experience stories, and advice; All stories published have had prior authorization. Questions? Contact Jean at: email@example.com
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