There are few things weirder than looking at old pictures of yourself and wondering “what on earth happened?”
With other people, it’s one thing. Sometimes you’re shocked by the change that happens from pre-pubescence to post-pubescence, and sometimes you smile and say “man, she looks just the same.” Perhaps staying the same is a good thing, and perhaps not—usually that’s up to the viewer.
I haven’t changed much since I was a teenager. I changed a lot before high school, but then, after a growth spurt and significant weight loss, I became the Risabella I am today.
Well, sort of.
Out of curiosity, I flipped through a few pictures of my 16th birthday party, followed the senior portraits I got done with my friends. Then I looked at a few recent pictures and saw one crucial difference:
I look tired. Not different, really—perhaps and bit fuller in the face, and goodness knows my skin has seen better days—but I look tired. College has left me physically unchanged, except for being permanently tired.
And I’m wondering if that’s a bad thing. After all, time does what time does. Time changes things. Time leaves us tired. That’s just the way it works. To deny or to hide the fact that I will probably always look tired no matter how much sleep I get from this point on seems an exercise in futility.
I have two options: freak out about it, or embrace it.
Yes, I’m tired. I’m tired because I’ve worked very hard for three years to do the best I can academically. I’m tired because of a year and a half’s worth of intense interpersonal drama. I’m tired because I’m a night owl in a world of early-birds. I’m tired because my imagination keeps me up at night. I’m tired because I am incapable of taking naps. I’m tired because of the journey I chose to take. That’s nothing to be ashamed of, really, and the fact that I look tired is nothing to be concerned about.
I have a million blessings to count. Fretting about a physical change will get me nowhere. I know I’m preaching to myself—but there are others who feel the same thing, and I’m here to tell you that you shouldn’t be worried about looking tired. You’re tired because you’re working hard at something. You can’t control what time does to you, you can only control what you do in the time you have.
Apologies to Gandalf.