Tis the season of shrines to graduates, of hoards of baby pictures being hauled out of dusty storage. Then we sift through the dozens and dozens of adorable pictures that prove that we were indeed, at one time, attractive, to find the perfect ones to display for all our peers.
I’m realizing something as I look through mine: I really was a ham.
In the five years before I entered school, where apparently all my unhampered silliness was hammered out of me, I have so many pictures of me with fiercely happy expressions or doing something incredibly silly (usually with a large amount of red-eye since my blue eyes and 35 mm film don’t mix well).
Then, fast forward to about second grade. Maybe it was getting glasses that did it, because now the pictures are of a more demure, less platinum blonde young lady.
Maybe it was the darkening of my hair that triggered it. As I got less brightly blonde, I became more inhibited about being silly.
Or maybe I just matured slowly but surely like most of the rest of the world. That seems like the most likely candidate.
I suppose I’m missing the character I used to be. Not that I would want to be 18 and myself and still always grin so that ALL my teeth show for the camera. Those days were so carefree. Not only that the responsibility level was low, but I didn’t really seem to notice what people thought of me -except when they said I was cute.
Life is cyclical in way, isn’t it? We start out without caring one jot about what other people think of us, since we’re naive enough to think all the world is as friendly as our neighborhood. Then, as we get burned and come across unfriendly people, we put up barriers towards others, putting forward our guarded selves, sometimes not even a true version. Then, as we become comfortable in our own skin again, we put our best, true self forward and try not to mind when we’re rejected.
It’s like re-learning what we already had figured out. How counterproductive is that?
If only learning a lesson one time was time enough to learn it permanently. Thoroughly. If. Only.

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