Although I haven't talked about it a great deal, I went on a diet starting back in January and in the time it has passed, I've lost roughly 40 pounds. Which is significant. I still have a good ways to go, but I am about to see a number on my scale that I haven't seen in probably a decade.

As a result, I find that I am more willing to take pictures of myself. Or be in pictures that other people take of me. This is also giving me an opportunity to look at old pictures of myself. And there are some I certainly like better than others. There is one in particular that I look at daily. It was taken on October 27th 1993. I know that, because it is dated as such. It was taken at a fraternity and sorority social. It happened to also be  my 19th birthday. Of the three other people in the photo, I know two of them. One is a sorority sister. The other a friend I have know since High School. The third is a random frat boy.

But this really isn't about them. I don't think they'd care, but it's about me, tonight.  So I cropped it, as best I could:

What big hair you have!  All the better to socialize with, my dear.

Ok, yes - you can see part of my friend, but unless you knew who it was, it could be any fraternity guy.  Again, focus on the girl in red, please.

That's me on my nineteenth birthday.  I had probably had something to drink at that point.  I was coming down with some mono-like virus that kept me exhausted for about a month.  To the point that getting a shower would wear me out.  I'd have to rest before getting dressed.  And after getting dressed.  Within a week of this photo, my sweet boyfriend, who was in school in Houston, would write me a letter (this was before the internet was so freaking ingrained - we still wrote letters, for fuck's sake) declaring that he loved me (I already knew I loved him, and had for months).  We would say it out loud on the phone within a few days of that, and in person about a month later.   Now, I did love him.  But... if we're being completely honest, I did lock lips with someone that night, at that party. Because, I was nineteen, and I felt cute, and I was a little buzzed, and it was my birthday, and a boy wanted to kiss me, and I wanted to kiss him, so we did.  This is clearly before that because my lipstick is still both on, and on point.  I left a fair amount of it on the mouth of a cute boy.

The point here is not that I was a morally casual teenager, although, to be fair, I was.  The point is, when I see this picture, I see a girl who is looking at the camera with a stare that says, "I see you, and I see you seeing me.  And I like how I'm looking tonight, and you go ahead and document this confidence." My hair was thick and lustrous, my skin was clear, my eyes were a little red from hunch punch and fatigue, but they're open and they saw things clearly.

What made me think of that picture is one I took of myself while I was in Virginia.  This picture:

It's the confident look at the camera.  It's the red lipstick.  It's the curly hair and the nonchalant air.

It's the fierceness.

The good news is, I may not be nineteen, but as it turns out, June 2017 and October 1993 have something in common - they were times in my life where I knew who I was, where I was going and a vague idea of how to get there.

Keep on keeping on.