Dear “Past Me,”
I bid farewell to you! You, who stifled and suffocated—even snuffed out—so much talent, potential, and greatness within me; keeping it buried inside while robbing the world of it. I bid farewell to the shyness, the uncertainty of speech and dialogue for fear that my answers would be wrong, my opinions judged harshly, or my outlook on life not in line with the “norm” or status quo (however, now I know staying away from the norm is a good thing!). From my current day posture, with nearly 60 years of getting through this thing called life, I empathize with you and dislike you simultaneously.
Recently, a former college buddy shared a brief 1979 film promoting Ohio University. He alerted me to the fact that I’m actually in that film! No sound during the 20 second-or-so footage of me talking, but still pretty dope!
In viewing that film, I can clearly see me speaking with shyness and timidity—not boldness and surety. Wow. What insight. How cool to be able to see me candidly on film during that moment 40 years ago.
It’s a new day. No longer, Past Me, are my words hidden inside for none to hear or read. No longer am I afraid to look right into the camera. I do so often now, grinning ear to ear to let the world know that yes, I’m happy, I’m joyful and I have a beautiful smile to express it.
I guess I was beautiful back then. I was kind, as well. I’m proud of those characteristics. I was also rather reserved and far from promiscuous during my college years. I can definitely be proud of that! I was very smart, pulling straight A’s my freshman year while many classmates were not adjusting so well to the privilege of no parental rules to keep them studying instead of partying. Yes, I can pat my back for that.
Yet, Past Me never really felt beautiful or accomplished. Past Me was never enough. That’s perhaps why–as these photos show–I didn’t smile much.At times, Present Me takes on that same burden of feeling less than beautiful and unaccomplished. That is until the wonderful people I surround myself with remind me otherwise.
Finally, thanks a lot, Past Me, for causing my artistic drawing and painting skills to drift away into a sea of doubt. Gratefully, though, a love for writing emerged in their place; albeit held to a minimum until age 40 when an illness canceled me out of Corporate America giving way to a fulltime writing hobby—a hobby that grew into a successful 18-year ghostwriting stint. I thank God for that.
****Present Me has endured this journey of phases, shifts, eclipses, and enlightenment.
I’m probably creating “Future Me 5.0” by now with maybe 4 or 5 more versions to go before I’m truly satisfied. But that’s okay because Present Me is filled with self-love, self-respect, self-worth and a lot of work towards self-care.
So, again, goodbye once and for all, Past Me! Watch out, Present Me! Future Me is on the fast track!
Ps. In case you’re interested, here’s that 1979 promotional film:
Watch for me around 4:20.
Terri, aka t-RAW
Reach And Win!