I'm taking a developmental psychology class for the next few weeks. One of our assignments is to write an autobiographical account of one time period in our lives, either in the past or what we project for the future. In order to get us in the zone to do this, our professor led us through a guided imagery last night into our past. It was kind of cool. He led us through the past slowly, beginning with the past weekend, then through the last semester, and eventually through childhood to our earliest memories. It was really interesting which memories I had, and what kind of emotions and experiences I attached to each phase of my life. It was also interesting to me that the most recent time evoked the strongest reactions, but I guess that makes sense - it's more raw, more vivid and clear and more tangible since time hasn't passed. I couldn't help the tears that fell from my eyes from thinking about the last semester, which was difficult in some ways, but I know I have gone through much more difficult periods in the more distant past. What was also interesting to me is that, because of the guidelines our professor gave in our guided imagery, I skipped very quickly through some of the most important developmental years of my life. Because he took us through our college years in succession, those years that I had taken a break from school, the time in which I became frum and really formed my current identity, were glossed through very quickly. It startled me a bit to realize how much my life has changed in the last ten years. When my professor asked us to visualize our high school graduation, I was struck for a moment realizing that my parents were still married and at my graduation together. Granted, my parents were actually at my college graduation together as well, but they were married when I was in high school. And I have just gotten so used to them being divorced that I had a hard time remembering what it was like before they separated. The other thing that I found so interesting about this regression was when my professor took us back to kindergarten. I don't remember a lot about that time, because it was a LONG time ago. But what I do remember is that I was confident, and unabashed about sharing my talents. As the years went on, and I went through, like many others do, teasing, hurtful words, and learned what was "cool," this confidence and comfort in who I was diminished greatly. I taught myself to hide parts of who I was because it wasn't acceptable or popular. The criticism I received from others became a part of me and affected my self-image incredibly. And what's interesting is that I think, at this point in my life, which my professor pointed out is normal for people in young adulthood, is that I finally have gotten comfortable with who I am again. I am proud of my uniqueness and the talents that Hashem has given me and I'm not afraid (at least not too afraid) of presenting that to the world again. I see myself in that little girl in kindergarten who hadn't yet been hurt. Obviously, I have years of baggage today that I didn't have then, and I have issues that I still need to work on, but I relate to who I was in kindergarten more than I do to who I was in high school. It was quite a lesson to learn and interesting to view myself through my past. I'm actually really looking forward to writing my autobiographical account now, because I think I am going to learn a lot.