I stared in the mirror for five minutes straight this morning. A stranger stared back at me. I don’t think she blinked.
…but she smiled at me. She was happy. She studied my face while I synchronously examined her. I was taken aback by how confident she was. She wasn’t scared. She was empowered… and undeniably at peace with herself – something I’ve spent years working towards.
I noticed her forehead moved. Mine hasn’t done that in years. There were laugh lines around her mouth and faint crinkles highlighted her eyes (undoubtedly caused by too much smiling – there was a twinkle in her eyes). I won’t deny I’ve dreaded the day it happens to me – but on her, it was almost sexy…so maybe I’ve changed my mind.
Her face was bare and she didn’t have on jewelry. In the states, I didn’t leave the house without seven David Yurman bracelets and a designer bag on my arm. I admired her real tan and messy hair. I was accustomed to spray tans twice (ok three) times a week, hair extensions, fake nails…things I once thought I could never live without but have recently discovered were merely trappings and distractions.
My priorities have changed, and in turn, so have I.
It’s no secret people had their doubts about if I could live out of a suitcase for an entire year. I am, after all, the one that came on this journey with four full suitcases…but now I have the least. Just two carry-on bags.
I’ve changed how I spend my money. Experiences, adventures, and people take priority. I’d rather buy a plane ticket than anything material, which I’ll begrudgingly admit leaves me with the same rotation of five outfits and one jacket.
But I’m free because I’ve removed my mask.
I’m grateful. Appreciative. Of everything. And I will have dinner alone in a faded $15 dress that I’ve worn three times that week without batting an eye because I’m in a new country having new experiences with new people.
I’ll admit that there are still hints of the old me. I don’t think you can wipe away everything in five months. But maybe I can leave some of my old sass. The is, after all, what a recent beau liked most about me.
Exiting a hotel lobby in Malta (because when you live out of a suitcase you go on dates to different countries), he mused, “You’re a dual personality. I can’t figure you out. You have this princess side that peeks out now and again, but at the end of the day you’ll do anything and not complain.”
This girl on January 1st of this year…I barely recognize her. This woman…this beautiful work in progress…I am proud to say is who I am now.