Those Old Photographs Show A Girl I Don't Recognize Anymore

Those Old Photographs Show A Girl I Don't Recognize Anymore

Reflection on what once was, and what now is.

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Sometimes, I look through old pictures.

Whether it be scrolling through my camera roll on my iPhone, my various social media accounts or even the pictures people have tagged me in over the years. What I see, however, disturbs me. I look into the eyes of the girl who covers every inch of my accounts, the girl in almost every other picture on my camera roll.

I don't see me.

What I do see: a stranger. Happy, pure, stress-free. A girl whose smile stretches from ear to ear, whose eyes shine bright like little shooting stars. Nonchalant dimples. Slightly messy hair, a dirtier blonde. She's usually placed with friends who turned out to not actually be friends or the occasional guy that she thought was going to be the one. So optimistic.

Who is she, and where did she go?

Over time, she starts to look a little more stressed. Her eyes start to dull, and the smile lessens until it's barely there in photographs. Her hair does lighten over time, but soon she will realize that it will never be light enough for her liking. A secret perfectionist.

The stranger starts to look more and more like the girl I see in the mirror every morning, and this is when I finally have to come to terms with the fact that I once was that girl.

Was.

I'm not saying I'm not happy. I still smile, I still laugh. It's just that there are only so many events a person can go through before they really start to change. So here, at this point in time, is when I really have to sit down and think. Think about what lessened that smile. Think about what turned the sparkle in those eyes into tears. Think about everything that made me feel anything less than content.

It's not just things. It's people. Human beings. Terrible, horrible, human beings. They come into your life, and you want to believe that people are good and that they are just as caring as you are.

Wrong.

They will break you. Whether it be soft and slow, or quick like a knife finding it's home in the center of your heart. You will meet good people, yes, but you will also meet those with the cruelest of intentions. You'll never see it at first. Ever. You'll let them snake their way into your heart and mind, you will offer to give them the world and more. That's just who you are, or maybe, who you were.

So this is where I must ask this, and truly reflect on the events of my life: Who was the first and last person to add to the deterioration of the girl in the old photos? What was the first and last event to do so? Is there some chronological timeline somewhere that I'm missing out on, or is it really just one big blur of catastrophes?

It's hard to answer such questions. I can remember brief moments from my childhood that may have contributed. Small encounters with immature tween boys who were the first to make me feel anything less than beautiful. My fellow middle school peers who harassed me for being the quiet girl who liked to wear quirky outfits. The other girls in my class who didn't want to be around me, simply because I didn't grow up in the same area as them. Like I could help that. I had several things in common with them, but they will never know. Or maybe it was the high school administrators who laughed in my face at my goals and ambitions. Administrators.

I could go on and on about the people, places and things that have tried to knock me down a few pegs. The stepping stones who brought the smiling, happy figure to the reserved, hesitant girl and merged them. I must remember one thing: I am not the person who let that random boy call me a name. I am not the girl who let her "friend" violently yell at her and break her down in public. I am not the girl who let her "friend" make her feel bad for being there for her and expecting her to do the same. I am not the girl who let the wrong person in way more than once.

I am much stronger now. That's when I realized what actually happened. It wasn't a deterioration, it was a metamorphosis that occurred.

Yes, these events may have a negative connotation to them, but in all honesty, I don't regret a thing. Yes, the perfect stranger in the old photos may look like the more ideal option at times, but she isn't ready for the real world, at least she wasn't. She wasn't confident or mature, she was exactly what she looks like: a child. My experiences have shaped me and turned me into someone who is ready. Ready to take on whatever comes this way. Ready for reality.

I miss the girl that's further down my feed often. Sometimes, I daydream of the simpler times. Times where I could create beautiful life plans, times where I dreamt of this extravagant fantasy life, with some crazy-cool job and a husband I never fight with and a large home on a waterfront somewhere. This isn't true reality. Reality is a good friend of mine now. That's OK. We're starting to get along, finally. I understand it a lot better now.

Sometimes, I look through old pictures.

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10 Things Someone Who Grew Up In A Private School Knows

The 10 things that every private school-goer knows all too well.

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1. Uniforms

Plaid. The one thing that every private school-goer knows all too well. It was made into jumpers, skirts, shorts, scouts, hair ties, basically anything you could imagine, the school plaid was made into. You had many different options on what to wear on a normal day, but you always dreaded dress uniform day because of skirts and ballet flats. But it made waking up late for school a whole lot easier.

2. New people were a big deal

New people weren't a big thing. Maybe one or two a year to a grade, but after freshman year no one new really showed up, making the new kid a big deal.

3. You've been to school with most of your class since Kindergarten


Most of your graduating class has been together since Kindergarten, maybe even preschool, if your school has it. They've become part of your family, and you can honestly say you've grown up with your best friends.

4. You've had the same teachers over and over

Having the same teacher two or three years in a row isn't a real surprise. They know what you are capable of and push you to do your best.

5. Everyone knows everybody. Especially everyone's business.

Your graduating class doesn't exceed 150. You know everyone in your grade and most likely everyone in the high school. Because of this, gossip spreads like wildfire. So everyone knows what's going on 10 minutes after it happens.

6. Your hair color was a big deal

If it's not a natural hair color, then forget about it. No dyeing your hair hot pink or blue or you could expect a phone call to your parents saying you have to get rid of it ASAP.

7. Your school isn't like "Gossip Girl"

There is no eating off campus for lunch or casually using your cell phone in class. Teachers are more strict and you can't skip class or just walk right off of campus.

8. Sports are a big deal

Your school is the best of the best at most sports. The teams normally go to the state championships. The rest of the school that doesn't play sports attends the games to cheer on the teams.

9. Boys had to be clean-shaven, and hair had to be cut

If you came to school and your hair was not cut or your beard was not shaved, you were written up and made to go in the bathroom and shave or have the head of discipline cut your hair. Basically, if you know you're getting written up for hair, it's best just to check out and go get a hair cut.

10. Free dress days were like a fashion show

Wearing a school uniform every day can really drive you mad. That free dress day once a month is what you lived for. It was basically a fashion show for everyone, except for those upperclassmen who were over everything and just wore sweat pants.

Cover Image Credit: Authors Photos

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To My Little Sister, Don't Wish For Time To Move Faster, Soak Up The Stage Of Life You're In

Live in the moment and you will come out having no regrets.

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To my best friend,

Time goes by quickly, do not wish it away. Enjoy living in the moment you are in right now because you will never get it back. Stop wishing you were in college already because you have so much to live for right now.

I know all you want to do is get away from home and start over, which is normal because I wanted to do the same thing at your age. But as your older sister, and as someone who has gone through that stage already, I am here to tell you that it is not all rainbows and sunshine 24/7.

With the time you have left in high school, enjoy every second of it because eventually, you will come to miss it.

Graduation is just around the corner for you and it honestly freaks me out how fast time is going. And it only goes faster in college. As kids, all we wanted was to be in high school and be able to drive on our own and once we hit high school, all we want is to be in college. With almost being in college for two years, I can easily say that all I want is to be a kid again. We have been wishing our whole lives away since we can remember. Enjoy today.

I see so much potential in you and I am beyond excited for what the future has in store for you.

Many times, you have been the one to give me advice even though I'm the older sister and this shows how caring and loving you are. Life is going to treat you so well and it already has.

There is one piece of advice I must give to you though. Make sure to thank mom and dad and tell them you love them as often as possible. I know they can get on your nerves and may make you angry at times, but they have given us the best life. You will learn in college just how much they love us and how much they have given up just to make us happy.

You have a good head on your shoulders and I know life is going to turn out to be exactly what you wanted. Just don't wish it all away. Some of my favorite times were when I was a senior in high school.

I'm always looking out for you so don't ever think you are alone in this crazy world. Remember, I am just one phone call away.

I love you so much sis, you got this.

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