A small city called Mariager, in the northern parts of Jutland, Denmark around the year 2012.
That's when the photo is taken. I'm listening to nature.
I recently found an old hard drive with pretty much all of my old photos on. Most of them I thought was long gone. But there they were, so I took a look.. and sighed a little. I'm gonna have a lot of sorting to do. Thousands of photos from years and years, many unsorted, yay. But my heart also skipped a bit, because in there I knew, was a lot of hidden gems, I thought was lost and some I even forgot I had. Photos from my first photoshoots as a kid and afternoon walks in the woods with only the camera and I. There were photos I cringed at others I smiled at, some made me feel a sense of nostalgia and other times I'm just glad that time of my life is over. Others even made me grieve, grieve a little over the life I once had. Some made me proud of the person I am today. And even was then.
It’s a bizarre thing going through old photos of my past self. It's like looking through a window into a past memory. Back at a time. Remembering how I dressed, who were my friends, which guys I fancied, how I was feeling and what was important to me at the time.
I've avoided looking back for a good while because it would put me in a weird mood and sometimes make me a little sad at what was lost or over, but looking through them now was actually kinda nice. A little emotional, but I guess nothing else could be expected. I actually smiled a whole lot, laughed a little and felt a little warmer around my heart.
It's weird how many memories and emotions a photo can bring up. But it's like they say: "a picture holds a thousand words" I think I'm gonna go ahead and add a couple of emotions too.
Looking through the photos - especially from my teen years filled me with a mix of joy and sadness for what I knew was coming and what I was going through. My teen years were pretty hard on me, so I knew what was coming wasn't only chocolate and butterflies. But I also know that I was a strong girl. And eventually, I would and will come out stronger.
If we take all the deep and emotional stuff aside, I also noticed to other things.
One; I was a lot skinnier. I was almost a little underweight at one time. And I'm absolutely not anymore. And I'm actually okay with it.
I remember being 12-13-ish, crying, in the fitting room because I thought my butt looked too big in those cute jeans I so badly wanted. Looking back, I know something was disturbingly wrong with how I viewed myself, I was not as big or fat as I thought. And even if I was, I was still valuable and beautiful. I've also had to listen to family members telling me I've gained weight, but you know what? And telling me ways I could lose it again. But you know what? I have learned a lot about accepting my body. And loving it right now, in the state that it is now. No matter the amount of fat on it. In the beginning, it was quite frightening looking at the skinny girl I once was, but now I'm totally okay with it, because I'm okay with my body now too. Yay, for progress!
Second; even though I was a shy girl, who did not like attention at all. And was never cool enough for the "cool kids", I still was always strong enough to be myself. (You go, girl!) I moved to a new city and school at 13, I came from a very small school with around 50 students to a school with over 200 students, straight into an environment with heavy pressures on wearing the right brands. I barely knew brands existed. That's how "innocent" I was. I even laughed when I saw a girl and a boy, in my class, wearing the same t-shirt, before "understanding" it was one of those "cool" brands. I remember it was a choice I had to make. Fall for the pressure.. or! just don't give in and be me. I chose the second. And it's one of those moments that I'm the proudest of in my whole life. And have shaped a lot of who I am today and how I look at myself. Daring to step out of my comfort zone and doing something no one else was doing, goes a lot deeper than what clothes I'm wearing or what brand I am or not wearing. Especially in those identity-building years.
There's a lot I probably wouldn't wear now, but I look at photos from back then and admire my bravery. Especially since I was not a big fan of attention - yet I dared to stand out. Being myself was more important than the fear of attention. My teenage self often inspire my now-self so! I don't wanna lose that bravery! I actually have to remind myself of what I fought for back then, and sometimes I even ask myself: what would the-teen me do?
Anyways, I'd like to encourage you all to dare look at photos from your younger years. Whether it's dusty photo albums at your parent's loft or tagged facebook photos - it brings out some interesting memories, emotions, wonder and reflection. Enjoy!
Oh, and please do tell me about it! I'd love to know what gems you found or what you learned!
Until next time;
don't let anyone steal your greatness!
// Line xX