Social media can often be a weird dimension where a picture of an egg can elicit millions of likes, fights have to be verbalized in 140 characters or less, and people post videos of themselves eating pods of detergent. Along with the weird, social media brings together people in digital networks around the world, give a platform for anyone's voice, and allow the sharing and spreading of pictures of family and friends. Along with that territory comes the acclaimed "throwback" photo. The new #10 Year Challenge is taking that idea of a throwback photo to a whole new level.
While the #10YearChallenge may just seem like an opportunity to demonstrate the natural "glow up" that many people have experienced in the last decade, it has given many people a chance to see the true physical change undergone. But for me, the emotional and mental metamorphosis that I see when I look at the difference between my own to pictures is much more important.
Ten years ago I was 11. I was finishing my first year of middle school, and I was experiencing the turbulence of being a pre-teen. It was the time of acne, or Abercrombie t-shirts, of teeth before braces. A period defined by the awkwardness of an age where you're riding the line between child and teenager, where you're too old for some things and far too young for others. Like many middle schoolers, I was in a time where I didn't really know who I was on my own, or what I would become.
Fast forward 10 years.
I can't, with complete confidence, say that at 21-years-old, that I don't feel some of the same things that I felt at 11. I still face the occasional battle with acne. I still am a bit unsure about my future. But, I do know that my haircut isn't the only change you can see in my #10Year Challenge.
My 10 years has given me clarity. The ability to see what I want in my life, and the ability to demand it from myself. 10 years has given me the self-confidence that I didn't know was possible at 11. It gave me an opportunity to grow, in faith just as much as physicality. 10 years gave me more knowledge. About myself, about the world. 10 years has given me appreciation, the capacity to understand the value of my education, of my relationships, of my circumstances, and the power to be thankful for those things.
I know that 10 years have carved me into a person I didn't know I had the power to become. It gave me freedom, independence, passion, optimism, self-assurance.
10 years gave me, me.
And while a lot has changed, I can look at these two photos and know that still, so much has remained the same. I can smile and know that despite the change of 10 years, the same little girl with crooked teeth and a hope that she could do something big with her life is surviving somewhere inside of me. I can be happy with the fact that you can change and still be yourself at the end of the day.
So yeah, over the last 10 years I have learned to use a flatiron. I discovered lipstick. I pierced my ears again. And maybe that's all you see when you look at the difference between these two photos. But I see a change that I hope only continues to happen. I see hope. Hope that another 10 years from now I can look back and see even more growth. Hope that the little girl in the first picture would look up to the young woman I am now.