I argued and argued that it couldn't be me "because I was never that little!" My girlfriends, including the one on the right in this picture informed me that it was definitely me, and that she and the other girl who actually took this picture said that they were tall for their age at this time (we were in 6th grade), and that they were bigger than me, and that this was definitely me. I had never seen this picture before, and as I scanned the features of the young girl in such a silly pose with her tongue sticking out of the corner of her mouth and wearing a crazy jaunty little hat sporting a very tall plume on top, I honestly could not believe that it was truly me. I don't remember the bathing suit. I don't remember the hat, although as I thought more and more about it, it seems as though we did go to the county fair and probably bought those hats there.
This was supposedly at our 6th grade class picnic at the end of the school year. And as I thought about it, the other girls who were so much taller and more "matured" than I in most areas of young girlhood, were actually several months older than I was. My birthday is in late September, and back in those days we could start first grade as long as we turned six years old before the end of December. Since then that policy has changed, and a child must now turn six prior to September 1st in order to start first grade. So, by today's standards, my girlfriends and I would never have been allowed to be in the same grade together! I would have been held back another year...and Oh! What a tragedy that would have been! When I think about that possibility, I thank the good Lord for the policy that we had when I started school, because I don't think I would be the same person today if I had been forced to grow up with different children in a different age category. (We were blessed in that most of us stayed in the same school all 12 years and graduated together. A rare occurrence in this day and age.)
Anyway, I digress... While this "conversation" about this particular picture was going on in a "Facebook" dialogue, one of our other former young girlfriends was also having an issue with her own self-perception as we, (mostly me) most vociferously challenged this now mature woman (my same age) that the pictures posted of her were most definitely her. She could not believe it, and even denied that she ever wore the particular clothes and shoes that she was wearing in the picture (again, back in our early school days), and that she was never that "fat" (she wasn't fat...just normal 6th grade girl shape), and she wasn't even too sure that she was still attending the same school with us in that particular year. I found myself almost regressing into a kind of school girl bully in challenging this now 60+ year old woman that the picture was most definitely her, and that we must know her better than she knew herself because we had several different "witnesses" testify that the picture was indeed her! (One "witness" was her own brother!)
As this "conversation" continued on, it became apparent that she was growing frustrated with
That's when it hit me. I really haven't grown up very much since the 6th grade. I still have this need to "prove my point", and always be right! (Just ask my family). When things are pointed out to me about myself, I want to argue or deny the obvious truth. I don't want to admit that I could ever possibly be wrong. As this realization dawned on me I found myself actually walking around in my front yard telling myself that I needed to give it up and grow up. I also needed to apologize to a certain "old friend".
So, how about you? What is your self-perception? Have you ever seen yourself as others see you? Maybe not just in an old schoolgirl picture, but now, as an adult? It's kind of scary. I don't like what I see in me, and I need to make some changes.
|Here I am (far right) with some of those same girls a few months later. (Halloween)|
I was beginning to 'catch up' with them, finally!