The internet it a bizarre entity. It can give anxious high school girls a place to find out who they are, or at least try. They post pictures and words and receive support from random strangers (which, for some reason, can be more comforting than the support of friends and family).
But then, it's also a place for bullies to hang out behind the mask of anonymity. For people to troll around and cut at the soft underbellies that anxious people feel okay exposing online.
I was part of the first group for a long, long time. Although, I cannot say I was never a part of the second. Insecurity can easily turn men into monsters.
As I revisit this site and make my account active again, I've been looking through all my old stuff. And I have to say, it is fascinating. I remember a great deal from high school and early college, but it is interesting to see it through my eyes at the time, instead of through the lens of memory and life experiences. There is a lot I said that wasn't quite true and a lot of views that have changed entirely.
I still play soccer, though now I have had 3 knee surgeries; as you can imagine, I have learned quite a lot from those experiences alone. I appreciate the human body for what it is, and I recognize the need to treat it with respect and take care of it. However, I also know how truly horrible people can be when they get fired up or made to feel like fools. I also know that any insecurities I have about my body, though they might be induced by social media or other people, are entirely in my control. I try to keep that perspective at the forefront of my mind.
I used to despise coffee. Now that I have completed a Master's degree and worked a big-girl job, I hardly go a single day without a cup. And there's nothing better than a warm cup of coffee and a sunrise when you are backpacking through the mountains. I wish everyone could appreciate and understand the earth the way a geologist does.
I love science and I think it is beneficial to approach life the same way you would approach a physics problem. However, faith and art and books can give you perspectives that science will never be able to. It's important to be able to think both creatively and logically.
Never change who you are for another; someone will come along that loves everything about you. I am happily married now. I can say that I never had a relationship before him, now that I know what a true relationship is. And I've never really had my heart broken in that way. We've been together almost 8 years now, and not having him in my life now would be true heartbreak. He loves who I really am. He loves my competitive streak. He loves soccer and playing with me. He loves games and stories. He loves how much I love plants and animals. He loves camping with me. He loves hearing the new things I learn everyday. Even though he's not a big risk taker, he loves how adventurous I am; we balance each other. And love him for his athleticism, dedication, brains, compassion, kindness, and unending patience.
Most of all, I wish I could tell high school me to appreciate who she was instead of trying to make herself into someone "cool". It was great to read books and graphic novels - and now the world is pretty on board with that. It's great to be better than the boys at sports, but it's not necessary to rub it in anyone's face. And you can be both feminine and tough. If you really love something, embrace it.
Now I've transitioned into adulthood. I'm only 25, but we own a house and we're financially independent. We're already saving for retirement. We have to balance adventure with allotted vacation time. Being sick means going to a doctor. I have friends that I will have my whole life, but I'm still best friends with the girl I grew up with. It's about quality: good friends, good food, good beer, good memories. I think a natural part of being an adult is yearning for childhood. Of course, one can never know how great it is to be a child until they have experienced adulthood, but knowing that does not make one miss it any less.
Life has an interesting way of moving forward both quickly and slowly. Appreciate it for what it is, live in the moment, and love the little things. They are what makes the big picture a masterpiece.
Reading: Of Dice and Men
Watching: Hercules. You're never too old for Disney.