There is a picture of me at about 14.  I am sitting at a picnic table glaring at my mom, because I’m 14.  My hair is super short, and permed on top.  I have acne that will eventually be medically managed but then I managed it by tearing my face apart. I am wearing at least two, but I think three, tank tops – red, yellow, and (if there is a third) white.  I am wearing below-the-knee shorts that are red, yellow, and white.  I suspect that I’m wearing my white, leather, zip up at the heel sandals – but I’m not sure.  It is at least 93 degrees where I am.  All of my limbs are 14 years old, which is to say they are stretched long and tan, and I’m never quite sure where any of them end.


I was so cool that day.  That was my favorite outfit, and I rocked that haircut.  I had spent time on it even though I was going to spend the day moving back and forth from the bench to the patio on The Hill, which was a lot of beautiful not-much, in the middle of a lot of beautiful no-where.  I worked hard to be that cute.


I can look back at that picture as an adult and know that my style has always been consistent.  Identify what is “on trend” and then do something near it, without fear of the things that make me happy.  I own plenty of things that look absolutely normal for a working 40 year-old woman; the stuff we all have – chunky necklaces, nude heels, black slacks.  I also own zebra shoes, Vibrams, and silver ankle boots.  Just like I did when I was 14, I have buttons on my purse (Doctor Who and The Book of Mormon).


When I look at that picture of me, I don’t see bad hair and the dodgy fashions of the day.  I know, right away, that it was the days of Dippity Doo and Aqua Net and that my 14 year old hands knew less about fixin’ hair than I do now (and I still wear short, basically un-styled hair).  There weren’t flat irons and reliable ways to maintain loose curls all day long.  Nobody I knew had any idea what an up-do was (as far as I can tell) and I certainly had never had one.


Here is the tricky part (a buried lead if ever there was one) – I refuse to judge 14 year old me by my 39 year-old eyes.


I look in the mirror this morning and think Cute, Stylish, Rockin’!, just like I did when I was 14.  I was right then, and I’m right now. 


I will not chip away at my energy and love for myself today by tearing down the person I was then.  I did the best I could, and I rocked it.