Don't Forget to Look Back

I'm someone who looks forward a lot.  If you know me in person, you also know I document quite a bit as I go along, but I rarely actually look backwards, which seems kind of funny to me now.  Why document all of this stuff if I don't look at it that often?

It's for days when I want to locate a happy memory.  It's also useful for seeing how far I've come.

As part of honoring my body's journey, I decided to check out some photos of me in the past and see if I noticed anything.  These are from 2008 (sorry about the picture quality):

I clearly had not yet learned how to stand up straight or pose for pictures.  Also, this sweater? Not flattering.

I clearly had not yet learned how to stand up straight or pose for pictures.  Also, this sweater? Not flattering.

And another, a little later in the year, after I'd gone on my first stint of trying to eat healthy and hit the gym, in order to be in better shape for my wedding.

Cute shoes!  I wish they'd lasted.

Cute shoes!  I wish they'd lasted.

Better fashion, better pose, and I look happy. 

Here's two from the past few months:

This is my partner's way of trying to be "arty".  I think the angle is silly, but the outfit was cute.

This is my partner's way of trying to be "arty".  I think the angle is silly, but the outfit was cute.

Dress, cute booties, statement necklace.  BOOM.

Dress, cute booties, statement necklace.  BOOM.

My thoughts:

  • Even I, with my disordered, dysmorphic brain, can tell there's a difference.  I look a lot stronger, especially my arms.
  • My face looks a little more defined.
  • My tummy isn't so prominent.  That could be because I learned how to pose better, and dress my body to disguise it, but I also just think it's a bit flatter.
  • Also, hello, my fashion sense has really evolved.  Wow.  I dress like a damn grown-up now.

This is why this exercise is important: if we are dissatisfied with where we are now, seeing progress from where we were can really help.  It puts things in perspective. 

Over the last 6 years, I've changed a lot.  I may not be a skinny minnie, but I'm a lot of other things - fashionable, cute, happy, fit, and strong.  And that matters. 

Today, I wish to honor the progress I've made, both physical and incorporeal.  I want to affirm that I'm more accomplished, strong, compassionate, thoughtful, socially responsible, wise, and kind, than I was 6 years ago.  That's something to be proud of, and to acknowledge.

Once I've acknowledged it, I can thank  my body, brain, and soul for getting me here, and then gently let it history go to focus on the challenges of today.

Have you thought about how far you've come?  What markers show you that you've made progress?