“When am I going to glow up?” my daughter asked me, sitting in the passenger seat of our van in the driveway. We had just returned from school shopping at the mall.
“Grow up?” I asked, clarifying what I'd heard.
“No, glow up,” she repeated. “You know how you did between that 8th grade picture and the one from your senior year in high school.” She was taking about my 8th grade school picture — the one in which she told me I kinda looked like a guy. I had the 1970's hair-sprayed sausage rolls down the side of my head plus braces and some army-inspired, double-shirt combo going on. By senior year, I had sprouted breasts, traded camo for angora and looked very much like a young lady with incredibly straight teeth.
Her question hung between us. Yes, I was a serious late bloomer, wearing training bras when everyone else had graduated to a cup size. I got my period and driver's license in the same year. Yes, a half a decade later than most other girls.
I thought about how to answer her question, knowing I had just a minute before the next text or Snap Chat would divert her attention.
“Believe it or not,” I said to my daughter. “Glowing up is actually more of an inside job. Every time you honor who you are, you glow up.”
She didn't cut me off, so I went on.
“When you choose friends who value you, pick clothes that feel good or share your opinion, you glow up. When you practice being brave or learn from your mistakes, you glow up from that, too. So basically you can choose to glow up little by little every day.”
She gave me the “wow, that was deep” look but took it in, opening the car door to go inside.
I waited in the car for a minute thinking about my answer and realized I could take my own advice, too. If we are to shine in this world — as I know we are meant to do — we need to do the daily work of glowing up to become our very brightest selves.
The Heart of the Matter: Glowing up is adolescence for our soul