I often joke that I am the same as I was when I was 14. Indeed, anyone who sees a picture of me then would tell me that I have not changed. I have the same round face, the same straight teeth, the same mane of unbridled brown hair, the same eyes that crinkle and squint in emotion.

Essentially, I do look the same.

But I have changed. I have changed so very much.

Deciding to go through all of my Facebook pictures starting from when I first got tagged in 2008 was proof that I have, indeed changed. And that I’ve aged. Further… I’ve aged well. Seeing my life, or at least my teenage years, chronicled through pictures, I can see the change. It’s funny, knowing what was going on in my life, while looking at these pictures of this ever evolving face, changes it a bit.

With the initial decline of the status quo and my emotional state, there’s a change. A rounder body. More chins. More sweatshirts. Less open mouthed smiles.

Then when the world seemed to be crashing around my ears, there’s a change. A thinning, but still round, body. A saddened tilt in the eyes. Less group pictures.

As we round the corner to the summer before senior year, the summer I started working at FLC, there’s a drastic change. A fuller body, still round, but curves start to appear. More angles in the face. Teeth. Moments of life captured, and immortalized. Tighter clothes. New friends.

A clear departure from the comfort zone.

From there, the girl in the picture ages slightly, becoming a woman. But not just in feature. Her back grounds change. The subject matter of the pictures change. She’s having adventures. Meeting new people. Forming bonds and making memories, that to this day still linger as fresh as if they were moments ago.

The girl in the picture is no longer hiding from her slowly dissipating world, but rather, she’s holding on to it with two hands, and steering it in the direction of her dreams. This is a girl who wants nothing more than to live and love and experience and take pictures.

So that, 5 years down the road, when she’s lying in bed contemplating love and life and everything in between, she’ll look back.

And she’ll be honestly, genuinely, totally, completely pleased, with the round, straight-toothed, smiley, curly haired, curvy woman’s transition into happiness.

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