I love my smile. It’s probably the physical trait that I get complimented on the most. Second runner up would most likely be the softness of my hair (just in case you were wondering).
Facebook has a nifty feature where it shows you pictures, statuses, and things you were tagged in on this day. Some are from 1 or 2 years ago, but today there was something from 7 years ago. Things like that can make a college student feel old. They were pictures from 9th grade homecoming. When I was thinking about the people I lost touch with and moved on from, I took a careful look at my smile.
Baby Kirsten is on the left. Her smile is soft, shy. It’s not quite a full smile, definitely not an eye-crinkling one, but it’s enough to let you know that she’s happy. It’s a little awkward. A little hesitant. It says, “I’m trying to be confident even though I don’t really know who I am.”
The picture on the right was taken last year on a dear friend’s birthday. This smile and Kirsten looks so different to me. For starters, her smile is a lot bigger. So big that it makes her eyes crinkle. So big you can see top and bottom teeth and inside the corners of her mouth a little bit. There is no questions that she was happy in that moment.
The difference a couple of years can make is amazing. Especially when you can see it in images. The period of growth in between these pictures led to a Kirsten that is more confident in herself, one that knows herself better, and one that loves to smile bigger. She’s not afraid to love others fully and find her people. She knows there are choices to be made in this big world, but she is capable of making choices. The present Kirsten has found her jam.
I’m looking forward to see where the next 7 years take her.