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THE RUBY SLIPPERS WERE ON MY FEET THE WHOLE TIME

I remember taking this selfie sitting on my bed in my then-new apartment in Philadelphia. I didn't use Facebook much but wanted to change from my previous profile picture, which I believe had my blonde hair still over a year after I dyed it back.

It looks like I'm not wearing a stitch of makeup, but it's entirely possible I have some mascara and light powder foundation on. If you look closely, you can see the remnants of the chunks of blonde highlights I had put in my hair in an attempt to look less boring. And yeah, that's a cycling jersey I have on (Fortunately, my lack of interest in social media at the time means there's little record of my bike phase - I went through a lot of phases then). I remember wrestling with the neckline to take the photo because as soon as I pointed the camera at myself, I realized how unflattering the high neck was to my face.

There's nothing wrong with where I was, except that it wasn't where I wanted to be. I had a fashion degree, and I'll admit I could be stylish and put a look together when I wanted. But my wardrobe was a mosh mosh of things I settled for because they fit and I didn't hate them and year after year I put figuring out my personal style on the top of my goals list. Maybe it sounds like a dumb thing to fixate on, but as an artist and a designer, I felt like I just couldn't be ME until I solved this.

And yet years passed and I hadn't figured it out. I still wouldn't even begin to unravel it for another year after this photo. But what I did have was a vision of who I could be that kept me determined to keep trying.

And then one day a blog post sent me down a winding yellow brick road to the answer, which was nothing more than a clarified version of everything I already knew about myself and so obvious that it was almost disappointing. Everything I needed to know had been right there the whole time.

But what wasn't disappointing was the results - what I started to look like and even more so, who I started to become. Transforming into the woman in today's profile picture has opened so many doors for me, internally and externally, that I can't begin to quantify it. And after all that it just makes me wonder...

What would be possible for you if you realized the ruby slippers were on your feet the whole time?

(...because they are 😉)

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