Is that you, or someone else?

I recently wrote an article for Elephant Journal, referencing a blouse that I’ve held onto during this time of transformation and letting go of the past. During this, my son glanced at the picture I was making for the article heading, pointed to the older photo of me, and asked,

“Mom, is that you, or someone else?”

It’s something I’ve been feeling as I look back at old pictures, too. The long hair, or yearly lob, was part of my identity for so long. I had been nervous to cut it the first time around, because it was an investment of time to grow it back if I didn’t like the result.

But I love the result.

Now when I look at the long hair, it doesn’t feel like me. When I look at those pictures it looks like an entirely different person. The same goes to the blouses with flowers and bright colors. It looked good, as I had been told, but I never quite felt right.

Confidence is something I’ve struggled with for as long as I can remember. There was this looming feeling growing up that I never really fit in, even in my circle of friends. It wasn’t that they pushed me aside, or made me feel that way, of course. Looking back, that lack of confidence really grew around not yet knowing major parts of myself.

Of course, the person in the old photographs is me, and yet it isn’t. It’s me in the sense that, well, I’m in the same body. I went through experiences to shape who I am now. My personality grew in that space, my hobbies, my career, and my deep love for those I care for. Everything that makes me, me, is in there.

I’m in there, but like a muffled laugh.

The more I lean into the energy that feels true to me and the styles to express it, the more my confidence has soared. I don’t find myself worried about what others might think of my clothes or my hair, as I had done for decades, because it doesn’t matter to me anymore.

I am happy with myself, and to me, that means everything.


Published by Dani Chase

Writer & Artist

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