A Friday Thought to Chew On: Remember Your Roots

A Friday Thought to Chew On: Remember Your Roots

What inspired today’s blog? You know that my muses come in many forms, and I’m always surprised what will capture my attention and heart, leading me to get all philosophical and long-winded about it. This time, my inspiration came via the amusing packaging of an old classmate of mine (old as in from a long, long, looooong time ago, like elementary school). He had posted a small set of 7th grade yearbook photos of a half-dozen classmates, me among them.

Seventh grade. It wasn’t pretty. For most of us, our 7th grade pictures aren’t. We’re usually 11 or 12. Just on the cusp of puberty, and we all know how daunting that can be, trying to figure out what the hell is happening to our faces, our bodies, our hormones.

Yeah, here’s the culprit that inspired this blog. I’ll be respectful of my classmates and crop them out of it.

7thGrade

I remember at the time I didn’t have a clue what to do with my hair. (Like I need to tell you. You can see for yourself.) Still don’t really. Thankfully, my stylist now (Monica) is awesome and has given me a cut that doesn’t require a lot of forethought on my part. And I’m pretty sure it was around this time I had “Jewel Teeth.” You know, like the singer. A canine tooth that just didn’t want to sit in the shadows but stand proudly on display… way out in front…and with a tooth behind it. Ugh. Yeah, growing up is fun. When it’s over.

I was definitely much cuter in 1st grade. See?

1stGrade

Still had some teeth issues at the time it appears. Like keeping them all in place when class photos were scheduled it looks like. Heh.

So why do I bring up all of this? Not for the sole purpose of showing embarrassing photos. I can do that any day of the week thanks to social media, and especially on #ThrowbackThursdays. No, I bring it up because it was a reminder of that girl I once was. I forget about her a lot. Sometimes a particular movie or song or TV show will bring me to that place— usually John Hughes, Saturday Night Live or Modern English transport me there, among other 70s and 80s touchstones embedded in my cultural tapestry.

It’s easy to forget where we came from, who we once were because for many of us, we were the product of our parents — liked the things that they did, believed what we were informed was the truth and nothing but the truth, and followed their lead. And it isn’t until much later… usually around this awkward time of 7th and 8th grade that we learn the hardest lesson of all — our parents don’t know everything about…well,…everything. In fact, there are some things for which we come to discover…gasp! They don’t know anything at all.

And it is also during this time — our growing up, the sudden springing of our roots, our awakening, whatever you want to call it — that we discover ourselves. And that can be the scariest thing of all. Being a kid can be so comforting. I remember daydreaming back then about having a job and a house and a family, and wondering how anybody does all of it. I’m still wondering decades later, by the way. But back then, we have only to embrace ourselves, which if you think about it — it really should be a very simple thing to do yet it seems very difficult at the time. Sometimes we can be shy about doing that as children, so focused on getting rid of those quirks and odd things about ourselves that we don’t understand or worry others will find unattractive. Isn’t it a shame that it can take us a lifetime, or sadly for some, never at all, to come to terms with these unique parts of ourselves?

Never forgot those beautiful roots that helped you sprout into the individual you are today, whatever your age and wherever your location on your timeline.  Pull out those funny looking photos and giggle about the limp, lifeless hair and the out-of-place teeth, and remember the heart beneath those images. You are still that child. You’re just in a bigger, bolder and braver package, but always keep a little bit of that gawky 7th-grader along for the ride on your adventures…wherever they may take you.

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends… and if this inspires you to pull out those old yearbooks, tell me about it, would ya?  I won’t ask you to divulge a pic. Unless, of course, you want to. Heh. ~ Chris

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