You may be thinking, "OMG. Is that...you?"

flourish collaborative_catyprom2006

The fuchsia dress. The eye shadow to match. The flashy, too-high heels that I promised my mom were comfortable.

"Rhinestones, Caty? Who told you it was okay to curl your hair like a wannabe JLO?".

Girl. LET. ME. TELL. YOU.

I thought I was JLO. It was 2006, I was seventeen, and I was on fire.

Erica recently asked me what I thought what my "golden years" were. You know, that wondrous, enlightening time in your life when you get it. When you know who you are; when all the pieces fit; when everything makes sense. When you're truly happy and comfortable with yourself. Without thinking and with total confidence, I told her that my golden years were my last years of high school. You can imagine the eye roll, the argument. "CATY! You have not even experienced your golden years! How the hell were they high school, of all years?!"

I get it. Let me explain.

I will start off by saying I have a few ideas as to where my "awkward years" confidence came from. By this time, I had successfully lived through my first heartbreak. I had recently broken out of my older brother's smarter, multilingual, over-achiever shadow as he went off to college (guys, like I didn't even pass Algebra). I got through my parent's divorce like a boss. I worked, four days a week, and paid for myself to go to Europe. I had a close diverse group of friends, I had Beyonce's B'Day, I had a belly button ring, a tan, and a bunch of cute boys who wanted to date me. I had it all figured it out.

In my late teens I would often hear people say, "your 20's is when you find yourself." I didn't get it. I knew who I was and what I believed in. I knew who I was going to marry, what my job was going to be forever and where I was going to live. LOL. You know what sucks? Being 23. Being 24 sucks too. You have no idea what is going on and what "future" even means. What doesn't suck though, is being a little older and remembering when you were a little younger, and taking back pieces of those "golden years". Europe may be far and the belly button ring may have disappeared, but the sentiment remains. The best is yet to come ya'll; greatness only grows.

-Former Prom Queen and Future Badass

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