So jumping in on the Facebook ‘how have you aged’ challenge here, and reflecting on the very first photo I chose in 2007 to launch myself into the Facebook world verses the photo I now have representing me as my profile image today.
My goodness… where do I start?
So for one, let’s jump right on into the perspective shift of noting how aging is NOT a bad thing. Let’s just go ahead and swap out the word ‘aging’ for ‘growing,’ shall we? Because although in a lot of the ‘world’s’ standards, I look a lot ‘hotter’ in my first image… there is a lot to consider behind the lens.
In my first picture- the full image shows me in my underwear for all of the internet to see, so let’s just reflect on that choice right out of the gate- I am posing, covered in make up and fake eye lashes, sucking in, and showing my mastery of the ‘fish face’ which I deemed the most attractive for photographs, and can also be found in countless other photos of me from this season of my life.
In other words… I’m putting on. I’m covering up. I’m trying really hard. I’m wearing my best mask.
I see right through me now, and I wish so badly that I could go back in time and give that girl a hug and tell her that it’s all going to be okay. Because in that season, everything was uncertain. I had just lost 14lbs after doing the ‘lemonade cleanse’ where for 10 days I drank water, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Oh, and I drank a liter of salt water each morning to flush my system and to keep from swelling my brain with too much water and not enough salt.
Yep, I did that. Twice, actually.
This picture was taken at the L and W party. It was my third going away party as I tried to move away from San Diego. When I graduated college, I was going to move home and reevaluate where my life was headed, but after my going away party I decided that I was in love and so I stayed. Then, when the guy cheated on me like the three before him, I had a going away party and moved out of my apartment because I didn’t know what else to do, and where or who I was supposed to be. But with everything I owned in my car, I drove to my best friend’s house and moved into her dinning room because I decided that I couldn’t just move away because of a boy and so I stayed. Then when that lease was up and I bounced around for a few months- dragging my mattress and my clothes with me to about eight different homes in three months- I moved in with these two friends in this first profile image and decided that despite the debt and the suffocating feeling of being lost in the world, I was going to stay. That lasted about eight months before I decided that I really just couldn’t stay anymore. The L and W party was for my friend Lauren who was moving to Livermore, and me- Wendy- moving home to Woodland. The L and W themed party seemed appropriate. These gals in the picture are dressed as ‘wrestlers’ and I’m dressed as ‘laundry’…
At least I can say I was always funny.
This picture was taken at the end. The end of my life- or so it seemed. I was moving ‘home’ to a place where my mother was, but where I had never lived. It wasn’t anymore home to me than San Diego, but it was the last place left for me.
I was so lost in this picture. I had no idea of who I was. I was using my body to gain value- the lower the top, the more attention, the more value.
Little did I know…
Creating a Facebook page- because my sister said Myspace was over (WHAT!?)- would lead me to befriend an old high school acquaintance that Facebook suggested for me. Befriending that guy would lead me to a drink at a bar in my hometown only maybe 10 days after this very picture was taken. That drink would lead me to wonder if perhaps everything was happening for a reason. That wondering would lead to a relationship that would lead very quickly to the truest love of my life, and the most value I had ever experienced, which would lead to the most significant relationship I’ve ever had in my life- that with my Lord and Savior.
Sometimes it’s darkest before the dawn, y’all.
And that brings me to my current profile image…
No, I’m not posed, no I don’t have all the make up on, and I’ve long since abandoned the ‘fish face.’ And y’all, I’m not lost anymore. No, I’m found. I’m held. I’m valued. I’m redeemed. I’ve aged if you add up the years, sure, but I’ve GROWN more than I can even describe.
I wish I could say I don’t even know the gal in that first picture… but I know her. I know her well. I still see her from time to time. I still struggle. But I’ve grown.
When I look at my current picture, caught as I address the team of amazing leaders I have the absolute pleasure of leading at our global training conference this past year, I see someone who knows exactly who and where she is supposed to be. I see someone who knows that her value isn’t earned, it’s not worked for, it’s assigned. It’s gifted. I see someone who has discovered that purpose comes from the heart, and doesn’t always look like what we expect it to look like. I see confidence. What’s funny is I wanted so badly to be confident in that first picture. Oh, how badly I wanted people to see it in my eyes. But confidence comes from within. It’s a choice. It’s a decision. It’s not a pose. I see confidence in this second picture.
Perspective is key, Readers. I’m still the same person in both of these pictures. Like I said, I still struggle and get lost and fail. The difference between these two pictures is eleven years. Eleven years of GROWTH. Ever hear it’s not about the destination… it’s about the journey? Yea, that. These two pictures are about the journey.
Here’s to eleven more years of aging. Bring it on!