To my younger self…

Timehop is a fun little app that shows you what you posted on your connected social media accounts on that particular day a year ago, two years ago, etc. It’s cute and it’s fun to see something, like pictures, from 5 years ago.

But last night I had a real trip down memory lane and it has me looking at myself in a whole new way.

Todd and I stumbled across some of those mini-cassettes that video cameras used to take back in the day. So on a whim, and out of curiosity, we took them to Dodd Camera and had them put onto DVD’s for us so we could see what was on there. And last night we got to watch.

It’s footage from when Todd proposed, from the trip we took, which started with him proposing on the way to the airport, and then from our honeymoon.

And sure, my first thoughts when watching the footage went something like this:

“Oh my god, look at how skinny, young and tan I look! My eyebrows are on fleek! No but seriously, my skin looks so taught. And my boobs! Look how firm they are! Honey, look!”

As we kept watching, I kept being in awe of how great Lilia from 12 years ago looked.

But then, as I kept watching, something else stood out to me. A much bigger difference between Lilia of 12 years ago and Lilia of today.

I was so….I’m struggling for the word here….I guess laid back. I was sweet. I was really nice. I was confident. I wasn’t easily riled. There was just more of an easiness about me. The interactions between myself and Todd were so different. We weren’t argumentative at all. (Which isn’t to say that all we do is argue now. But back then, even when we disagreed it was mellow and laid back and certainly didn’t escalate as quickly or as easily as it might today.)

And sure, I know, some might argue that it was such a happy time, we were literally in our “honeymoon phase.” Yes, there is an element of that.

But also, we were completely different people there.

People accuse me all the time of being very sarcastic, and I am. I kind of assumed I always had been. But the delivery of my sarcasm, some of the bite behind it, that wasn’t there 12 years ago.

People who know me now, or who meet me now, might come away with the impression that I am confident. What you’re really seeing is false bravado. Lilia from 12 years ago was quietly confident. Lilia today carries a shield of false bravado. Let’s not confuse the two.

There’s a clip from the video, after he had proposed, when we were visiting his sister and brother-in-law in Miami. His nephew Conner had just been born, was about 6 weeks old. So here we are, JUST engaged, already talking about the wedding, and cuddling a sweet new baby. Of course we made off-hand comments about how someday soon we would have our own little bundle of joy.

See, that’s what made Lilia of 12 years ago change into Lilia of today.

Twelve years ago, I assumed, I took for granted, I was confident that things would work out the way I thought they should. I would get married, and shortly thereafter, we would start our family. It was a foregone conclusion that that is how it would go.

And well, we all know differently now.

I was talking to my mom about this while driving to work this morning and she told me that I wasn’t alone in this, that “life does this to people.” Maybe that’s true, but I feel like I got stuck on the fast train to bitterland.

There’s no way to go through what we did and not have it change you. Intellectually, I’ve known that. But watching myself 12 years ago, I gained an elevated understanding of that.

For a long time I resented, and felt hurt by, friends of ours who had kids. I felt like they were phasing me out of the social circle because I didn’t have kids. But now, looking back with a new sense of clarity, maybe they were phasing me out because I was changing. I wasn’t the same Lilia that they had known and become friends with.

There was definitely more of an edge to me. Probably more of a neediness. There was sadness and envy, mixed in with confusion and more than a splash of bitter.

Nobody wants to hang out with that. That’s not fun.

My mom has told me that ever since Madeline was born, I’ve looked younger. That Maddie has breathed new life into me.

And while that may be true, and I am so happy and besotted with our little spitfire miracle, I am so far from the girl I was back then.

And in the car this morning, talking to my mom about it, it  made me weep. And sitting here typing this, it’s making me tear up again.

I want to recapture some of that easiness, that sweetness. I want Todd and I to communicate the way we used to with one another. I want to embrace the happiness I have now and let go of the anger, sadness, bitterness that built up during our fertility struggle.

And my promise to you, my friends who are reading this, is that I will try. Hold me accountable. Especially those of you who knew me then. But also be patient with me. Understand that those types of changes didn’t come without experiencing a lot of pain. And so, while things are certainly better, it’s going to take a little time to drop the shield of bravado and walk with true confidence again.

I love you Todd Lipps. I couldn’t imagine having gone on this journey with anyone else.

And I love you my friends who are still here.

Thank you.

So to my younger self…be who you are, but don’t lose who you are. Grow and change like you need to, but still keep the traits that make you who you are. You are amazing. You will continue to be amazing. Try to hold on to the “innocence.” And know that things will be ok. You will come out of the darkness.

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About llipps

New mom, infertility survivor, marketer, wife, daughter and friend. I struggle to find the balance between being all things to all people and being happy with who I am. I love meeting new people, telling my stories, and hearing yours.
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