I don’t have a scanner, so I’m not usually able to post old pictures. But my sister posted this picture on Facebook the other night. She’s the one in the pink jacket. The cute one. I am the strange-looking one behind her.
I don’t have a clue who took this picture or why they took it. It is in the church library of the church we grew up in, Webber, in Richmond, VA.
I use the term library loosely. It was a small, wood-paneled room with a desk and three walls of books. I spent a whole summer as part of a library organization team, where we tried to revamp the library so people might want to use it. The team consisted of one older person, me, and a boy who I was “in love” with that summer (and for, oh, four or five years. Can we not talk about that?).
The immediate feeling I get from this picture is that it was taken in the height of my awkward years. Maybe where I was just starting to feel self-conscious. I’ve struggled with my weight from the time I was in 4th grade. This was probably about 5th grade as best as I can tell. And I was just starting to realize that it was an issue, something that needed to be dealt with…something that might make me cave in to myself and become ferociously shy throughout middle and high school.
Ashley, my sister, looks so free and childlike. I look hidden. This picture just reminds me of the years of yearbook photos I hate; of the vacation videos where I was wearing elastic-waist jeans at 11; of having to wear my mother’s purple dress to GA graduation in 6th grade.
Wow, I really didn’t realize where this was going when I started writing.
I hope my daughter will never feel like I felt, and sometimes still feel like. I want to encourage her to be healthy, always tell her she is beautiful, and help her have more self-confidence than I could ever muster. I want her to be Ashley in that picture.