10 Year Challenge

10 Year Challenge

Dear Reader,

I’m a little behind the curve on the 10 year challenge. But as you know, I am a woman of many words, so it only felt appropriate to write a piece to accompany a photo. When I look back at my fourteen year old self I am in awe of her strength, her wit, and her drive. But I am also grateful to be the woman I am today, more grounded, more empowered and filled with more self-love than ever before.

So, I’m going to take you on a journey of then and now, of transformation and appreciation:


Then -- Sephora makeup kits.

Now -- A fresh face, adorned with a few zits.

Then -- Victoria Secret gel-padded push up bras.

Now -- Breasts that wiggle with the wind.

Then -- Waxed legs, and a naired upper lip.

Now -- Legs of a furry woodland creature and a 5-o’clock shadow in the right light.

Then -- Designer clothes and a room overflowing with belongings.

Now -- A thrift store queen with a car filled with just about everything I own.


Then -- Unsure of my own needs and wants.

Now -- Able to listen to my body, soul and heart.

Then -- Valuing others views and expectations above my own happiness.

Now -- Choosing myself over just about everything. Selfish is NOT a dirty word.

Then -- Climbing up the stairs to the tennis courts.

Now -- Climbing up mountains.

Then -- Afraid to be held and cared for

Now -- Calling in the love and care I deserve.

Then -- Validated by cat calls and ass slaps.

Now -- Validated by knowing my worth and asserting my value.


Okay, so sure, few fourteen year old girls have claimed their value and worth, few fourteen year old girls are grounded in who they are. But I hope that is changing, in fact I am making a concerted effort to change that.

Because ya’ll even at 21, I was still in much the same place as that 14 year old girl. It took me years to fully embrace myself. But as I have stepped into love and acceptance, let me tell you, it’s been the most transformative and empowering experiences of my life.  

May we look back on ourselves 10 years ago with love and compassion. May we look at ourselves now with joy and care, knowing we are masterpieces in every stage.

With love,

Annalise