I can't believe that it has been ten years since I graduated from high school. My own high school graduation has been on my mind lately for a lot of reasons--Partly because I had several young women graduate this year; partly because my mom brought to my attention how common it is for kids to cheat in school, and that a majority of the Valedictorians of my sisters' graduating years were cheaters; and partly because I got something in the mail telling me that my 10 year class reunion was being planned. Crazy.
So what has ten years done for me? Well, a lot. I feel like I am a different person in many ways. Here is one way:
I have finally started gaining confidence. Although throughout my life I have been blessed to know and feel like Heavenly Father thinks I'm super cool, I wasn't comfortable with myself for most of my youth. I remember being a little girl and thinking that I was different from the other girls (probably because they had hair and I didn't). I remember that as I got older I was always obsessed with the fact that I wasn't as pretty as so many of the girls around me. I remember that when I was with my family and my closest cousins or friends, I was fun enough, but when I entered a situation or environment with which I was not familiar, my personality was sucked right out of me and I had nothing to offer. I was always pretty smart, but for most of my years, being smart was not cool. And neither was being honest. I remember wanting to be rich like so many of my friends. I remember wishing I was more adventurous, more talented...Oh, man, I could go on forever. BUT the point is: NOW I know that I am cool.
I am finally comfortable with myself. I can go to the store without mascara. Heck, I can even go DAYS without mascara. (No one but those other unfortunate souls with short, totally blond eyelashes can understand this freedom.) I can wear a swimsuit and even get my hair wet. I can participate in conversation with people I don't know. I can respect and enjoy people who are different from me. I can laugh and be laughed at. I can recognize my weaknesses and appreciate my strengths. I can run a marathon. I can help a struggling boy get on a mission. I can say sorry. I can try new foods. I can admit my insecurities. I can perform in a talent show. I can do ten pull-ups. I can go a whole day without yelling. Woops! Thinking about my coolness is leading me to be a little deceitful. Those last three things were complete lies. The most important thing, though, that has contributed to my being comfortable with myself, is having a husband and almost three kids who love and appreciate me, and living in a place where I can't escape the opportunity to serve.