I was scrolling back through my Instagram feed last night and began cringing.
There were numerous grammatical errors in most posts, a handful of ghastly filters, selfies that I must have thought looked good at the time, and larger than life eyebrows.
Yup. Those feathery and unkempt eyebrows that I loved with all my heart, defended to my sisters who told me that I needed to invest in a tweezer or threading session, the Brooke Shields inspired duo...those bad boys. They were humungous in some photos. I felt my jaw hit my chest from how shocked I was at one photo in particular.
Then, I noticed some personal facts and stories that I shared about myself a few years ago. Sentences were strung together to reveal the depths of my inner thought processes on a sensitive subject.
Did I really tell people that?
Why did I share such intricate details of my life as though I were placing a naked photo of myself out on display?
God, I should delete these, shouldn't I?
I sat in bed with flushed cheeks and giggled. Life is funny when you can laugh at yourself and choose not to take everything so seriously.
I fumbled with the idea of deleting three or four exceptionally embarrassing posts - at least to my own judgment. I held my thumb over the crimson "Delete" button and pondered it some more.
This is part of your history and growth, Danielle. Why would you delete a version of yourself that respected and honored this expression at a previous point in time? Don't you want to see your progression? Don't you want your readers to witness how far a person can come when they commit themselves to a goal?
I removed my finger from the trigger and decided not to delete them. As awkward as some of those posts are, they're essentially a large part of who I am now. I preach to my creative writing students to write in their journals every day, not only to track their growth over time, but to have time capsules to explore at a later date.
How lovely it is to stumble upon younger versions of yourself setting out to discover more of who you are, while trying to make sense of the world around you. Deleting those posts is like ripping a page out of my journal - something I would never do now.
When I was thirteen and going through my first heartbreak, I threw out three full journals about the boy who broke my heart. I didn't want to identify with the girl who was so depressed in those notebooks. She was pathetic to me at the time - how could she let a boy make her so miserable for months?
So, one day, I took those journals to the garbage can on the side of my house and happily dumped them straight to the bottom of the bin for pick up the following day.
It kills me now to think of those words gone forever, never to be picked up and read again. My sweet, heartsick darlings - pieces of myself that I poured into poetry, song lyrics and reflections - most likely in a landfill or at the bottom of the ocean somewhere.
It's easy to look forward into the potential of who you can become. It's even easier to celebrate who you are now when reflecting on where you came from. But never mistake your current landscape as superior to your previous ones, for those rocky bluffs and jagged peaks were the catalyst for who you are today.
Don't mistake the journey as something shameful or embarrassing. Instead, honor yourself for the inclines you ascended when you didn't know what lie beyond the crest. Where you stand now will be miles behind the terrain you walk in a year from now.
These steps are just as important as your future ones.
Your past and this moment deserve your love and attention, too.
Don't rush or regret the process.
Bask in the glory of your becoming.
Unravel the beauty of yourself in bloom.