Something happens on Thursdays across social media. I’m not sure where or when it originated and I’ll admit, I didn’t jump in right away. I still don’t play often. But, on occasion, when the mood strikes me and I don’t have to put much effort into finding a photo, I will play along and post a picture of me or my kids or a friend from days long past and tag it with the hashtag #TBT. That is how the game of Throwback Thursday is typically played.
Being Thursday (and the 13th day of NaBloPoMo),the idea of playing along crossed my radar, briefly, until I thought about digging through a box of old photos to find “just the right one”, not to mention the valuable time I’d waste
spend taking a walk down memory lane. For me, there is nothing like a box of old photos that can pull me in, hold tight, and not let go until hours have passed. No, I decided, life is too busy to play the #TBT game today.
Still, something was tugging at my heartstrings and light dabbled in the corners of my memory, beckoning me to peek. And as I quieted the protests of my rational, schedule-driven mind, I was greeted with glimpses of who I was as a young girl. Share that, I heard, share who you were, before the world told you who you are to be, and connect with that girl. And, oh what joy I found in reconnecting with who I was while discovering that girl never left me.
My mother once told me I was her “doll girl.” I loved to play with dolls, but the one I remember most was the Raggedy Ann doll given to me by my grandmother. I loved that doll and she was the one who heard my secrets, caught my tears, and spun in circles around the yard with me. One day, long after she had been loved to the point she has small tears in her fabric, a large safety-pin held on her right leg, and her apron had long disappeared, she became real, just like the Velveteen Rabbit, and we parted ways, but she’s never left my heart.
The color Kelly green painted my world, or at least I wished it had. It was my favorite color and still makes me smile. Sharing a room with 2 sisters and a house with 6 other siblings meant custom room décor was not an option.
I spent my days either under or in (don’t tell my mother!) the apricot tree that was the anchor of my mother’s rose garden. There is nothing like an apricot fresh off the tree!
Or, you could find me in the pool playing Marco Polo with my brothers and sisters. Given the hours we spent in the pool, you’ll understand why I had chlorine green hair through most of elementary school.
Or, you might find me searching for a 4-leaf clover in the vast lawn area of our backyard.
I was certain one was out there….hidden among the fairies I spent just as much time seeking. I found one, once, and that forever cemented my belief in all things magical and unseen.
I began sewing at the age of 7 with the coaching of my sister and the “rip it out” lessons taught by my mother. I loved sewing then, and still love the creative process of it now. As a teen, I dreamed of becoming a fashion designer. However, life often sets us on different paths and I sailed in a different direction, with no regrets. I made many of the outfits my girls wore when they were very small, but the demands of life squeezed out the hours I could and would gladly lose while sewing. It’s only been recently I’ve sat at the machine again and I’m looking forward to re-introducing myself to the pattern books I poured over as a teen and the aisles of fabric that create a palate of inspiration.
Armed with the desire to be a fashion designer and a love for all things French, I studied French for 11 years. (My minor is in French). I was certain I would live in Paris and subscribed to the popular (?) tabloid magazine, Paris Match while in high school, dated a wonderful Frenchman, Jean-Pierre, for a period of time while I was in college, and shared a house with 3 French speakers (OK, I’ll confess, all men) when I moved out of my parents house. Again, destiny had other plans when I met my non-French speaking husband, and I have not one regret except, of course, not being able to enjoy the pastries while we were there last spring. (Darn you, gluten!) Clearly, I’m still a Francophile at heart.
As I grew older, any free time I had was spent in 1 of 3 places. I sought the comfort of solitude, the respite in only my thoughts, where I could shut out the world for a bit and just be me, free of labels and demands. Horses were then and still are a favorite escape.
It didn’t matter if it was the early morn, the midday, or the dusk of evening, I loved running. Few things cleared my head and set straight my thoughts like the rhythmic sound of my feet hitting the pavement. Would that I could still, but my knees have insisted I hang up my running shoes.
The beach. Ah, the beach. A foggy day, when the population is sparse and the smells dense, I could walk for hours along the shore or the pier, watching the weathered fisherman bring in their catches, admiring their dedication. On any foggy day, even here in land-locked Colorado, my husband calls it “Mary Weather.” That man, he knows me well.
And last, but most certainly not least, my childhood and adulthood was and is filled with 2 of my greatest passions: my books and writing.
I suspect, just as the above loves and parts of who I am, these aren’t going anywhere. Books and writing have always soothed my soul when times are rough and added joy to the good times.
That is the story of who I was, and who I still am. Sure, I’ve changed over the years, but deep inside, the little girl with the big brown eyes is still there.
Who were you before the world told you who to be, and are you still that person?