I was driving down the highway with the windows rolled down, the sun shining through my sunroof and Paramore blasting in the speakers. It was the beginning of summer and I felt like I was 16 again. That feeling of the energy rising and the excitement of all the adventures ahead for the season without a care in the world. I reveled in the feeling, holding on to what it meant to be 16 again.
To actually be 16 would be a very different story. I’m sure I had a ton of anxieties about tests, getting ready for college, and of course boys. But I also was so sure about so many things in my life. I wanted to save the world, to be an artist, to travel to Africa, and to feel free.
Who Were you at 16?
Somewhere along the road from childhood to adulthood, I stopped knowing who I was. I got caught up in paying bills and keeping up with the Jones’ (or is it the Kardashians now?). I become afraid to show off my true self in fear that I wouldn’t be accepted or worst, persecuted. And so I created a mask, one that I would continue to build off of until I no longer knew the difference between my true self and my masked self.
Do you feel like you are who you were always meant to be?
When I got home from my drive down memory lane I wrote down all the things I knew at the age of 16 and then thought about how many of those things still rang true. Things like I’m an artist; true, but I haven’t been painting lately. Or I’m an activist; true, but I haven’t felt close to my causes for a long time. Maybe my passion for health; true; but have I been healthy lately? So then I asked myself if you could do anything, be anyone who would you be?
Finding Your True You
It’s not a quick answer. It’s one that’s developing after months of reflecting and diving into personal deep work. The answer is vague but it has something to do with creativity and healing. I love to make, I love to add beauty, and I always want to serve. There’s a witchy element with herbs and making my “potions” (teas, lotions, baths) that I want to be part of this path. There’s the artist, always creating, always looking for beauty. And there is the friend who wants to give advice and share the resources I continue to collect.
How this translates into a career or a next path, I have no idea. But simply exploring the things that I knew were a part of me at 16 is already bringing joy. I’m no longer looking to please the people around me or compare myself to people I’ve never met. Instead, I’m comparing myself to my 16-year-old self and asking, do you feel like you’ve finally come home? Do you feel like you are who you were always meant to be?
The following photos are from a recent shoot I did with my husband before heading to a Halloween party. They’re different from anything I’ve done before but felt very true to me. Both in who I was playing and the creative style they were taken with.