This is my 1961 high school graduation photo, and I look pretty confident. Big smile, sassy pixie haircut, Brooke Shields eyebrows. Ready for the adult world, ready to move on. But I wasn’t. I was 17, kissed too many times, not many options left in my own mind. I was timid on the outside, tumultuous on the inside. I didn’t fit anywhere. Fast forward to 2010, and I’m in a bar tonight for my regular Tuesday night meeting with my creative friend, and Miss 17 shows up, all “I’m so scared and stupid” on my bar stool — because I have a biggish public presentation to make next week, so she’s freaking out. As she so often does when I’m ready to throw in the towel. Tonight, though, I’m scooching her over on the stool (not kicking her to the floor because she’s also my gentle, empathetic side, which I can’t live without) and sharing my backbone with her. A backbone that I often deny having (“oh I’m not worthy, I’m so small and insignificant”) — but isn’t that just a way to avoid taking responsibility for my accomplishments? A way to prepare myself and others in case I fail? Because I’m so sensitive to criticism? I’m annoyed — no, I’m mortified — that I refuse to take kudos for what I achieve and responsibility for when I fail. That I so often try not to try. Dear Miss 17, let’s do it.

7 Responses to “Back When I Had Eyebrows and Opportunities”

  1. Paula S In New Mexico says:

    nuff said

  2. Anonymous says:

    so pretty you are.
    super post too.
    i'm sure your presentation will be briliant!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Your essay resonates with me. You express in words a picture that I see of myself cringing in the center of a bright light. It is much much easier for me to see my shortcomings than it is to recognize and take credit for my strengths. Discounting myself and allowing other people to discount me….well, we were raised that way, weren't we.
    Thank you for your insight.

  4. Allegra Smith says:

    You have what it takes. Give yourself permission to show to the world what you are really made of. No one timid and shy inside would show her spirit so…openly. Time to break the door if you cannot find the key. Now go out there and shine.

  5. V-Grrrl @ Compost Studios says:

    You still have eyebrows and opportunities. And great shoes. Boldly march into the future with them.

    (Yes, this is coming from the grrrl who says she feels invisible. ha ha ha)

  6. Nikki Hardin says:

    i am forging ahead with the presentation and just trying to remember that my little angst is so insignificant! thank you!

  7. Whosyergurl says:

    I have been reading you for awhile and thought you were much younger!
    (I graduated '77)
    and…had Brook Shields eyebrows worse than you! I plucked them to death and rarely have to pluck, now.
    You are beautiful!
    Hugs, Cheryl in IN

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