I made a very sweaty resolution on New Years Eve. I was with some of my closest friends and just after midnight we were discussing what we wanted in 2012. For me it was a simple one word answer: Freedom.
My resolution was sweaty because I had just lived out my dream of dancing in pajamas on NYE. To kick off freedom year, I wanted to dance with my friends and my husband... in pajamas... with a disco ball. I didn't want to be judged or self conscious and I definitely didn't want to be uncomfortable with pesky "real clothes" so the pajama dance party dream was brought to life by my friends and was executed to a level that I never imagined possible. Since that night I have intentionally started embracing my real self and doing something that frees me a little more each day. This could be dancing, singing, making cookies at 11pm, NOT cleaning (I have a little cleaning obsession and many perfectly good Saturdays have been ruined by my cleaning projects and I say NO MORE - Saturdays are for coffee and snuggling and being with family), telling the truth (I have gotten into a habit of telling white-lies if I don't want to do something.. "oh, I can't today.. all of my hair just fell out".. lies. NO MORE) and working on having real relationships. It's harder than it sounds.
A few hours into this experience, I decided I was going to share it. I'll let these photos and their captions tell the story. Some of these will make you laugh and some of them may make you uncomfortable, but don't be. Freedom for me is loving every phase of my life - even the extremely awkward ones.
Dear Baby Me, you look like a son you'll have one day named Conrad. That lady holding you is going to be your best friend for the rest of your life. Sorry that you have a mullet.
|Dear 3 or 4(ish) Me, you are going to love singing more than anything. You are lucky your daddy makes you sing at church every week because you are learning about harmonies and such and that will benefit you later.|
|Dear Cool Hair Little Me, you should have just stuck with this hairstyle your entire life. It would have saved you a lot of trouble since 30 year old me has your exact hair. Full circle.|
|Dear Lady Like Me, I'm so glad you learned to cross your legs. You sat like a boy all the time before this photo and that would have never worked out because you always wear skirts.|
|Dear Sweet Tooth Me, I wish you'd have never learned that you can't eat chocolate every day. Who told you that? Chocolate is awesome.|
|Dear Christmas Me, that sweatshirt rocked and you were popping your collar before it was cool.|
|Dear Kindergarden Me, you are always going to hate school so you might as well settle in for the long haul instead of trying to fake sick everyday for the next 12 years.|
|Dear Jean Jacket Me, that hand me-down from your brother is not doing you any favors.|
|Dear Really Good at Posing Me, the hand under the chin is genius. Your high-tops are awesome.|
|Dear Confident Me, why did you ever become uncomfortable with your body? I wish you could have stayed free like this forever. You're awesome.|
|Dear Junior Camper Me, "Hot Sticks" are the devil. Please don't curl your hair with those!!|
|Dear Fashion Fail Me, The "Eastland" / white athletic sock combo will never work. Tight rolled sleeves on a shirt that says "No Comment" will never work. A scrunchie headband will never work.|
|Dear Curly Me, you started getting perms. This phase is really going to mess your hair up for years to come. Years. You look great in this photo so you should order tons of them and hand them out to all your friends.|
|Dear Great Idea Me, making mom order these in every possible size was genius. You want people to have this image of you in their homes and wallets for the rest of your life.|
|Dear MovieStar Me, Glamour Shots TOTALLY made up for that permed hair and pink and gold chain outfit fiasco last year. You're looking pretty awesome, cowgirl.|
|Dear Left Over Hair Me, maybe an 8am call time for photos with mom wasn't a great idea. You both made it on time but didn't get to wash your faces or fully wake up. It's a good thing you have great leftover hair from church last night or this could have been bad.|
|Dear Awkward Teenage Me, I'm sorry that you got another perm and wore that unfortunate faux denim vest. Don't be sad. I promise you will not always look like this.|
|Dear Uncomfortable Me, I see you've gotten another perm. In a couple of months a lot of things are going to change for you, including your diet. One day when you smile, people will still be able to see your blue eyes.|
|Dear Just Started Losing Weight Me, I know you feel beautiful, but the one straight strand of hair on the face thing is never going to work for you. Just slick it all back.|
|Dear Just Lost 100 Pounds Me, I'm so happy for you. You worked so hard and you feel amazing. I 'm sorry that you've discovered plucking/shaving your eyebrows. This is not going to end well for you at all.|
Dear 16 Year Old Me, you are wearing prescription contact lenses that are tinted purple with non-prescription glasses just to look cool. That is lame. When you are 30, you will have those exact frames but with a strong prescription because when you're 25 your eyesight turns to crap and you're not allowed to drive without your cool big black glasses. I think it's Karma.
Dear First Half of My Life Me, I'm not sure why you were so uncomfortable with being who you were. You were always cool, but you wasted so much time wishing to be someone else (with better hair or eyebrows). You can't go back and do it all again, but don't worry - everything turns out great. One day you'll finally get to be the princess that 6 year old you always wanted to be. Your mom is still your best friend and you married a handsome prince and now have your very own baby that is WAY cooler than all your cabbage patch kids (although he strongly resembles them).
Dear January 2012 Me, please don't start to doubt yourself and erase this tomorrow. That's not freedom :) You have nieces and future daughters and granddaughters that need to know they're awesome being exactly who they are today. You might save them from years of trouble and/or really bad perms.