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Measuring Up

Updated: Feb 10

I found this gem of a picture in my grandmother’s photo album. I was a young teen, trying to look much older. My insecurity made it hard to feel worthy. It seemed like everyone but me had their life together.

I felt safe at Grandma’s. She accepted every version of me that showed up each summer—even the teen who was doing her best to look older, but no wiser. I may have sounded self-assured, but I never fooled Grandma.

Before I’d leave for home, Grandma always had me pose on the dock. The outfit? It was most certainly a self-chosen, star-bangled mess. I desperately wanted to look confident. But even in the sunshine, I was walking in the dark.

Fast forward a few years, and I was on my own—an 18-year-old college freshman, scooping ice-cream and making deli-sandwiches to pay my bills. I had ditched the short-shorts and knee-high boots, and my new clothing statement was a full-length purple cape that I wore every time I walked across campus.

Perhaps my clothes were speaking what I didn’t have words for just yet. How ironic that I could now vote in elections but couldn’t decide who I really was.

I’m sure today’s teens are also trying to figure out who they are—just as I once was. But now they must sift through thousands of confusing online messages. Measuring up to others can poison your worthiness.

And it might seem easier to have someone else write your story—someone who seems to have life figured out. But this is what you need to know: you’re the only one gifted enough to live out the story you were created for.

Even if you have several “wardrobe” changes along the way, you’ll reach an age where you feel comfortable living as the person you were always meant to be.

BTW, I kept the purple cape.


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