I’m a child in that ‘before’ photo
coordinated outfits and
recess and
lunch money and
I was beautiful then, too.

How unfair it is
to yourself ten years ago, to
mock who you were
before you got here.

I didn’t need mascara or
twenty-two karat gold or
shellac nails or
expectations of beauty
when I was 14.

This isn’t fair to anyone
and especially to you;
punish and prize
in one photo collage
simply because time passed.

Aging doesn’t hit, it just happens.
I do not have the strength to
hit and criticize the old me
because, sometimes,
I wish I lived in ‘before’.



Truthfully, I did think about taking part in this viral challenge. It’s easy to jump on a bandwagon and take part in this immediate validation of how you perceive your worth today vs ten years ago.

For me, I knew that it wasn’t fair to me and what I’ve gone through since 2009. You would’ve seen a 14 year old child compared to a 24 year old adult. You wouldn’t have seen all the things that shaped me, not the summer bonfire memories, or late nights on the phone with friends, or winning awards and getting in the yearbook, or suffering through bulimia and self-loathing, or moving to the big city, or professional leaps in my career. The surface level difference would have done me a disservice. The last ten years of my life were worth more than two photos side-by-side.

What do you think of the Ten Year Challenge? I’m not judging if you did or didn’t do it, and I’d love to hear your perspectives in the comments below.


58 thoughts on “69

    1. And it also doesn’t show the progress that doesn’t show on the outside. It seems to prize ‘traditional’ transformations and not untraditional ones. Someone who has lost weight vs someone overcoming social anxiety do not appear the same, for example. Thank you for your input!

      Liked by 3 people

    1. I absolutely do see it as a reflection, but I worry it is so surface-level that people are attributing their ‘progress’ as only external. A lot happens behind closed doors that social media doesn’t get to see. I love the original premise but I think that it has become oversimplified, and has the potential for a lot of self-worth implications. Thank you for commenting!

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Johndca Spencer

    Great post! I didn’t know there was a 10-year challenge and probably wouldn’t indulge in it anyway. I’m too old school and have a natural rebellion to what’s trending. I will say that I have grown tremendously in the past 10 years and although I know I still have a lot of growing to do, I am proud of my progress. I love your post! It definitely has me on a self-reflective wave of my own and I can definitely appreciate that. Inspirational!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Elle, thank you for bringing us the ten-year challenge. To me, all the changes are on the outside. The inside didn’t change and remains exactly how it was ten years ago. I can still, in my mind, do all the things I did ten years ago. I can run, I can jump, I can take long walks, and I can climb up on the roof of the house. The outside looks differently, ten years older, though and it tells my “inside” that you can’t do all of the things that you did ten years ago. Your challenge is very challenging and helps bring my inside into perspective. Thanks for posting. ❤ Stan


  3. Love your attitude but I think you may have missed the point of the 10 year challenge as I see it. I see myself, as you do, as so much more than how I look. My scars, my late nights feeling alone, my killing time when i couldn’t admit to my family I was laid off. I still look similar on the outside but on the inside I am so much more than I was back then even though I had more money, weighed less and has ten years more energy


  4. Another gem of a poem, Elle. I’m constantly comparing the present me to the past me, as is reflective in much of my poetry. The biggest difference from ten years ago is the empty nest where I write these days. I will give this some more thought today and who knows what may happen. Have a lovely day.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. YES 100%! I always look back on old photos thinking about how ___ I was. One day I know I’m going to look back and think that about myself right now, so that realization has kept me simplistic: just go with it.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Lord. I apparently live under a rock so had no idea it was occurring! But I’m with You. Practice only sweetness for myself of 10 years ago. I was who I was and was doing my best. Nobody deserves to be summed up. It’s impossible….ever….if You ask me. Rock on, Beauty!!! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I saw the first one or two people do that, and was inspired to look at a bunch of old photos. Then I ended up doing a post of several photos through the years. I guess that’s the contrarian in me. “I think the idea’s not terrible but the execution is lacking in, so I’ll do something different using your idea as inspiration.” I took it more as a walk down memory lane than a summation of the complete span of the time between the pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can absolutely understand that–it was really refreshing actually, to see some of those old photos unearthed. I did worry about the sentiment behind the negativity for ‘before’ photos, and I think that’s where my inspiration came. I do agree with you. Thanks for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s