Am I the only one who thought my teenage years were awkward? We think we have all the answers. Soon reality slaps us in the face. (Are you ready to see my vulnerability?)
I remember being in high school thinking if I could just make it to my 20’s life will be so much easier.
Well I made it. I married at 20 and became a mother at 21. I entered the trenches of divorce just 18 months later.
I had a great job and I purchased my first home, but life was super hard.
By my late 20’s I had remarried and went from one child to four children. I became a stay at home mom. What a roller coaster of events.
I remember thinking if I could just make it to my 30’s life will be so much easier.
In my 30’s I delivered our last child, chased little kids endlessly, ran a PTA, went through a custody battle regarding my oldest son, began homeschooling our children and enjoyed ordinary things.
Still I think to myself if I could just make it to my 40’s life will be so much easier.
But we know this is not true.
Today I spent some time reflecting within the pages of my high school yearbooks. This was a very interesting and intense time in my life.
I left home when I was 15. I lived with an aunt and uncle for a while. I lived with my Grandmother off and on. I had a boyfriend that was way too old for me. The man I went on to marry and have a child with.
I spent a period of time estranged from my parents. My father had intense substance abuse issues. I carried guilt for leaving my siblings behind. This accumulated over the course of my high school years and allowed my boyfriend to be a father figure. Bad idea.
I strongly believe that we all have a story. It is this story that makes us who we are and who we are not.
My story has made me a wiser woman, the best mother I can be and a fierce protector of my family.
Today I pulled out the yearbooks from my years in high school. I am certainly a product of the 80’s and 90’s.
I grew up in a very small town in the country- Joshua, Texas. Have you ever heard of Kelly Clarkson? She grew up in Burleson- Joshua is the next town.
In 1993 (my freshman year), the population of our small town was just barely over 6,000. There were 800 students (grades 9-12) in our high school. That is a little over 10% of the population.
And there I am. All smiles my sophomore year. At least in pictures.
Hello, Texas hair!
By my senior year I had gone through many transformations- emotionally, mentally and physically.
I chopped my Texas hair.
A word of advice. If you go to the beauty shop (as we called them in small towns) and tell the gal you want your hair cut like Meg Ryan in the movie French Kiss and she tells you she has no clue who that is, get up and leave. Do not make the mistake I did and sit down and proceed to describe the haircut, lacking important words like trendy pixie cut, as you try to explain. Try being the operative word. And who knew that all of these years later Meg Ryan’s haircut from the movie French Kiss would still be one of the top 10 haircuts requested, according to an online survey. Thank you Google! (Yeah, my hair did not turn out like this.)
All of this was just weeks before our senior yearbook pictures were taken. Big mistake. (How did we survive without Pinterest? We had really bad hair cuts that is for sure!)
I look at this yearbook picture and see a girl who was struggling so much on the inside. A girl who was broken and very lost. A girl who wanted to move on to the next season because it would be easier.
(No worries, there was laughter. I was a girl who would do anything for a laugh.)
That said, I struggled to trust.
I struggled to forgive.
I became a fiercely loyal friend to those I became close to. Friends I still have to this very day.
It was a four year season that shaped me in many ways and made me who I am.
Have you ever sat down to write a letter to your 16 year old self? Hindsight is 20/20, right?
One thing that I would certainly tell my 16 year old self is that life is full of seasons. We go through one season and enter another. This does not mean one season is easier than the other.
Life is not about getting simpler. Life is about growing from our experiences- letting that story shape us. If we keep waiting for that easier season, we will miss the beauty in life. We will miss the story and forget that life is a special occasion.
Do you agree?
(Have you seen the new line from Sarah Jessica Parker at Hallmark? I am in love. All of the cards and stationary above are from that line. This was provided to be free of charge from Hallmark. Check it out the next time you are in a store. Feel free to read my disclosure. For more information about Hallmark and their products, visit www.hallmark.com. You can also follow them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HALLMARK and on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Hallmark. I am!)