I Used to Be

Do you ever look back through old pictures of yourself? Somehow I found myself mindlessly clicking through my old photo albums on Facebook.

I used to be tan. 269003_10150694733910504_4780108_nI worked at a fitness facility where I had access to free tanning. I don’t believe in tanning anymore. It just feels wrong to my body and my heart. No judgment if you enjoy the artificial rays; honestly. I did it about one month a year since I was fifteen. Just don’t want to anymore. Sunscreen feels better.

I used to be leaner, more toned. 269831_10150694734235504_2402361_nAt least I think I was; it seems like I was in pictures. The layer of fat–I can hear your groaning–that encased my body whilst carrying Finn is encroaching upon my pregnant body yet again. I tried on all my jeans this morning and separated the ones I now hate (because the top button won’t close) and the ones still in my good graces. Unfortunately, the hated ones are a larger stack. I did not have this problem in 2010. But whatever. This new body I’m learning to love has more character than my pre-baby one, right?

9 months pregnant with Finn

9 months pregnant with Finn

A c-section scar (soon to be traced over once more), slightly wider hips, the occasional low back pain, an aching right ankle and wrist, a couple extra pounds, stronger biceps for carrying a toddler, and an unsteady, stubborn right knee. They remind me of the struggle (if you can call pregnancy that?) that changed me, making me stronger…like a soldier limping home from battle, head held high.

I used to think I was stressed; tired.

Baylor's "Biggest Fan" for Halloween circa 2007.

Baylor’s “Biggest Fan” for Halloween circa 2007.

This is just laughable. What did I stress about as a single or newly married person? A load of laundry? Which movie to see in theaters? Is the weather perfect for mountain biking?

I used to be blonde. 217183_10150541115660504_731612_nI was born blonde. I think of myself as a blonde. I have never really been able to afford highlights, so I saved up for them about 2-4 times a year prior to Finn. Then I felt bad using the chemicals while pregnant, so I let my hair go. About three weeks after Finn was born, I eagerly made a hair appointment, grasping for that blonde person I’d known all my life. I think I felt prettier blonde–like I was Archie Bunker’s Betty or California Barbie. Something cartoony and childish. Although I miss the lightness that framed my face, I’ve gone natural and I think I like my newly discovered hair color. Auburn-ish dark blonde.

I used to look so young.

Honeymoon in Sedona, AZ.

Honeymoon 2006

I was told to return to my classroom more than once as a young high school teacher.  Nowadays, if I sleep just right, my pillow will create indentions on the left side of my face that resemble the cracks in a thirsty ground. Much like the wrinkles in my palms. I think I was born with old lady hands.

I used to be so sure about God.

Praying over Bovec, Slovenia. 2008?

Praying over Bovec, Slovenia. 2008?

I thought I had Him figured out. Black and white. Right and wrong. I thought my faith was solid. Some days I am so confused about Him and what is really “right.” So startled by His mysteries. So in love with His goodness. So in awe of His power. I think this posture is better though, because it places me below Him. My rightful place.

Maybe I don’t want to be who I used to be.

Maybe happiness is found in liking myself (and the people I love, for that matter) for who I am now, not who I used to be. This presents me with the task of continually being and becoming someone I would like. Someone I’m proud of.

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7 thoughts on “I Used to Be

  1. You’re incredible Ash. I love the new you. If we all stayed the same there would be so many things we wouldn’t get the chance to experience. Thank God for His mystery.. It keeps us listening, learning, and loving our entire lives.

  2. Wait til your 60 and looking back at those college years pictures! We do change, mature, and see things from a different perspective with life experience. Losing my Dad last year changed how I see almost everything. I am grateful for the consistency of a loving God who has a purpose for my life and can bring out the good in every situation for me if I’m open to see it.

  3. Yes, yes, and yes. I can relate to this for SURE. But you’re right – the inside person I am now is a far “better” person that it used to be. So if that maturity comes with a little extra back pain, tummy rolls, and heavier responsibilities, I suppose it’s worth it. :)

  4. Greetings! My name is Heather and I wanted to know if you would be willing to answer a question about your blog! Please email me when you get a free moment at Lifesabanquet1(at)gmail(dot)com :-)

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