A friend posted a photo of me taken 10 years ago and I didn’t recognize myself
A lot can happen in 10 years.
On Monday this week, I logged into Facebook (like we all sometimes do to check notifications) and I stumbled upon a group photo my friend Amanda posted.
It was a group photo at Disneyland’s Club 33, a secret and members-only restaurant hidden in the streets of New Orleans Square in Anaheim, California.
We were there because we were celebrating the end of our internship with KPMG, a Big Four Public accounting firm. My friend didn’t tag me in the photo but I remember being there for the memory. Then, I notice a stranger in the right-most side of the photo.
I thought to myself, that HAD to be me. It couldn’t have been anyone else. I stared at it for a while, and realized that it WAS me. I didn’t like it or comment on it. I closed Facebook and reflected on the feelings that started to come up right then and there.
The feelings were a mix of embarrassment, empathy, and wonder. I felt embarrassed because it was not a flattering photo. Empathy because I remember that younger version of me. She really didn’t feel comfortable in her own skin, her clothes didn’t fit, her posture was sunken in, and she had just gotten her braces removed so her orthodontist required her to wear a retainer for a whole year at 21 years old. Yeah, pretty rough. Lastly, I felt wonder because I was amazed at the total transformation I’ve gone through over the last decade.
I live in San Diego, California and Amanda lives in LA. I had plans to have dinner with her on Tuesday this week (with masks and outdoors of course) after a photoshoot I booked through my modeling agency. My photoshoot wrapped way early, so there I was, wondering how and where I can spend my time until she got off work. Pretty much everything in LA is closed right now. After looking up options (also realizing I didn’t have sunscreen or activewear so the beach or a hike was out of the question), I decided to make the drive back to San Diego. I texted her to cancel our plans to get handrolls at KazuNori but asked if we could FaceTime that night.
We caught up over FaceTime and had a long overdue and much needed hangout where we talked about everything going on in our lives since we last saw each other. Towards the end of our conversation I asked her. Hey, you know that memory you posted on Facebook at Club 33, was that me? She said yeah it’s you. I felt so loved and accepted in that moment because this was a friend who has been with me through some of the best and worst moments…
Yeah, pre-glow-up. Then, we talked about the transformation I’ve had over the years.
If I were to describe it, the transformation is one of confidence, awareness, and becoming.
I’m sharing this photo as a way of integrating parts of myself that I feel embarrassment or shame over. My intention for this post is to share my story in the hopes that it makes you think about your own transformation and all the ways you’ve changed for the better.
So what happened in those ten years?
Well, 21 to 31 is probably the most defining decade in a person’s life.
For me, my 20’s looked like: I worked really hard, became a CPA, found yoga, changed my eating habits, ran a half marathon, changed jobs, became a yoga teacher, balanced my career and teaching yoga, discovered my love for fitness, traveled in the US and internationally (sometimes alone too!), saved money, dated a lot, quit my career to teach yoga, stumbled upon modeling, met amazing people, got to know myself, evolved in my spirituality, grew an appreciation for meditation, read a lot of books, took things slow, enjoyed the moments, started a business, and now I’m here.
Wow. It’s pretty amazing to look back on a decade. It’s even more amazing to see the turning points where you made a decision and it changed the trajectory of your life.
On the external level, the physical transformation was because I adapted a healthier lifestyle. I committed to being active through all the different movement practices I love. I decreased my levels of stress (they were off the charts and work stress even triggered autoimmune issues) and got healthy from the inside out.
On an emotional, mental, and spiritual level, I feel like I’ve become more of myself… my true essence. It was a decade of work. It consisted of reflection, journaling, praying, reading, meeting with a therapist for years, working with a relationship coach, healing through romantic and family relationships, deepening of friendships, working through childhood trauma, forgiving the past, letting go of what doesn’t serve me, dropping limiting beliefs, and committing to only thinking the thoughts that I want to come true.
I know you can relate. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably gone through your own journey too. I would be so honored to hear your story.
Who knew that such deep work could result in a change so visible, a photo would become unrecognizable.
It’s what happens when you commit to living an intentional life.
It’s making your own decisions using your intuition and not what your family, society, or anyone else wants or expects of you.
It’s not caring anymore.
It’s caring about things that really matter.
It’s feeling your feelings for the first time.
It’s knowing your worth.
It’s feeling good in your own skin.
It’s facing all your fears, insecurities, flaws, and pain.
It’s being vulnerable over and over again.
It’s truly loving yourself and your life as it is.
Seeing the photo of me ten years ago reminded me of the gift I share with others today.
This very transformation is why I started Glow from Within. I help women transform their self-image and shift from insecurity into confidence.
It only makes sense, this is the work that has made me who I am today.
Maybe 41 year old me down the road will look back at 31 and have even more wisdom to share.
Whatever happens in the next ten years, what guides me is making each day count, cherishing the people that are in my life now, and making choices that uplift and nourish… body and soul.
Thank you so much for reading this. If this sparked you to think about your own life, please leave a note and share your story!
Here’s to life,