One morning, a couple weeks ago, I was slowly scrolling through Facebook when a memory popped up. As I looked through it, I found that three years ago I hopped on the bandwagon and posted five pictures where I thought I was the most beautiful. I apparently have no faith in my fourteen-year-old self, because my seventeen-year-old self assumed I had chosen pictures that I thought were the most beautiful stereotypically. Alas, as I read what I had written, I was pleased to discover that my newly minted high school Freshman self had chosen pictures from her eighth class trip and graduation, pictures of her and her family, and so on.
None of the pictures were ones I necessarily thought were great, but they were pictures where I felt proud. They were pictures that conjured up memories of happy moments where I was happy to be where I was. There was a picture of me on the beach, one of me singing at graduation, and a blurry selfie with a friend on our class trip. As I looked through the pictures, I decided to do it again. I went over to Instagram, looked through my pictures on my phone, and plucked five memories from my collection. I thought carefully about the pictures and decided to put them below:
Picture #1: Claira in her natural habitat
This picture was taken on a trip to Los Angeles. Here I am holding a copy of A Separate Peace and To Kill a Mockingbird - two of my absolute favorite books. When I first posted this picture, I made it black and white to hide what I didn't like about myself. Looking at it now, all I see is a picture of me being perfectly at peace with where I am. I almost used another picture of me looking out at Los Angeles from the Griffith Observatory because it represents the same idea, but there's no getting past the fact that this is a picture of me in my favorite store holding my two favorite books.
Picture #2: After finishing the final performance of Les Mis
There is definitely something to be said for the amount of joy I feel after a performance (also before a performance, during a performance, during rehearsals for a performance...). This picture is one of my favorites because I remember being so happy. Sure, I was sad Les Mis was over, but I was still on cloud 9 from the performances and the experience plus three of my best friends had come to see it. This picture captures so much joy, and I think it's really hard to not feel beautiful when you're happy.
Picture #3: Coffee and Christmas lights
During the school year, my mom and I have a tradition where on Friday night we walk to the nearby Starbucks. Around Christmas time last year, this tradition was made even better because not only did we have coffee (decaf), but there were also lots of Christmas lights. This is another example of feeling the most beautiful while happy, as my mom makes me very happy and I love spending time with her (though the coffee helps, too ;-)).
Picture #4: Being enveloped in friendship
This is one of my favorite pictures from the last year. I love it because it encapsulates some of the friendships I've made and how wonderful my friends are. This was taken on our music tour outside the theatre where we saw Into the Woods, and as we all know that was one of my favorite parts of April. The music tour had a couple rocky moments for me, but it also showed me just how lucky I am to have the friends that I do, and it's hard not to feel beautiful when you're surrounded by people who lift you up.
Picture #5: A window in the Lincoln Capitol building.
When I visited Nebraska in January, one of the things we did was go to the Lincoln Capitol building. Although the library was absolutely wonderful, I was partial to the hallway that is pictured here with all the windows. I chose this picture because that weekend was one where I found myself reaching out of my comfort zone and doing new things. I loved being in Nebraska and I was happy while I was there, and, again, it's hard not to feel beautiful when you're happy.
So, how about you? What are the five pictures, moments, or memories that make you feel the most beautiful, loved, and happy?
"I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls." -Audrey Hepburn