Saturday, January 07, 2012

Self Portrait

It's been a very, very interesting week for me. If not disturbing.

Here I am, living this beautiful, wondrous life with my babes and husband, with a small handful of good friends in my more reachable vicinity, and surrounded by an amazingly loving, wise and brilliant circle of friends and Mamahood community at large.
I am fulfilled daily, complete in my convictions, and am living the joyful and seeking life I mean to live.

Though I misstep in my daily actions (according to who I long to be), my Knowing is constant and true.

In the middle of December, I ordered a few wii games for us, my family. Two for the babes that are rather rambunctious, and one more for me-- a walking one.
I was so excited to get mine, and decided not to wait for Christmas -or even Solstice- (typical for me; ever impatient!) and opened it and put it in right away.
A perhaps dumb little game that made me smile and hooked me right away. I love my game! It's not uncommon for me to play twice a day, and walk for between seven and thirteen miles at a time.
A few days ago - perhaps a week - I was feeling used to my game, and it wasn't quite as novel, now. I wasn't necessarily going to stop playing, but I wasn't quite as obsessed as I had been. Or maybe I was just tired that day, after seventeen or whatever miles the day before.
That day the children and I went out shopping... tennies for Trev, lunch for us, and I desperately needed a couple of bras.
Nothing like a store's unbecoming dressing room for inviting one to take a good, thorough look at one's self.
I wasn't too tired to play my game, later!

It could have been that night that I saw on my brother's fb friends list a girl that I knew a thousand years ago. He knows the family well, still, as he lives at or near our childhood home.
Aaah. Hi, Julie. Love you.
In a more humorous frame of mind, I might have had the thought "Worlds Collide". (Seinfeld.)
But this was all a little too raw... too much exposure.

I got back to my game, and have started carrying weights as I play, I do kickbacks and curls, and even started running instead of walking. That's for a couple of reasons - one; I don't want to spend hours and hours playing each day, and two; after being conditioned to ten miles at a time, walking just doesn't cut it. I now need harder work. (In a couple of days, it will be four weeks.)
My physical being has a need to Go. Which is kind of weird... I'm used to doing work on the inside, and now my body is demanding work on the outside. My feelings on that are complicated - I feel strong and often energetic, but I don't have the quiet time in my own head to which I am accustomed. I'm left feeling off balance.

So then two or three days ago I see a friend send another (damn facebook) person I knew a long time ago a comment. I went to her page, and found a very dear friend that I loved well twenty years ago. (Though it has only been eight or so that I have seen some of these friends.)
On her page, I found three other Dearests. And through that, more.
These are not people that I have not thought of in years... these are people that are dear and close in my heart. As are the childhood friends from next door, I loved them truly once, and I love them still.
And me being me, of course I let them know immediately that I love them well.
None of that has changed within me.

As you wait to find out if Beloveds remember you, or want you, particularly coming immediately upon the heels of a couple of other rather raw insights, interesting feelings can come up.

Will they think me foolish for saying "Hello, I love you."? Do I matter to them? Did they know my heart truly as I remember, or was it a dream? It was so long ago. A lifetime or two lifetimes ago. And perhaps worst of all - what will they think of these life choices I've made?

No, Stephanie. It doesn't matter. It's quite alright to tell people you love them. Just shine it.

So I get comfortable with that, and then one of my old, dear friends tells his brother that I 'friended' him on fb."Did you look at her picture?" the brother asks.
All things considered, I didn't know if I should burst into tears, or smack him upside the head.
(I should say, here, that my fb profile pic was totally lame. Number one, I totally suck at fb, and two, I hate all photos of me -have my whole life- and though this one is a somewhat decent one (the one I have here, in About Us), it's cut off at a weird place and looked odd and dumb. But whatever. I had never cared.

Ahem. Until now.
So I chose the latter, and smacked him upside the head. "Dork." said I.

But I supposed that it was as good a time as any (seein's how it's a nekked-for-the-whole-world-to-see sort of time, right now) to pick up my camera and aim it at the mirror.

Which oddly enough was much less painful than most of the other events. And though these thoughts were all swirling and knocking in my head while I faced the camera in the mirror, there are no scarlet letters appearing upon my cheeks or nose.
I'm not completely sure why it was relatively easy to face....

Just a couple of days ago I was telling Eric that I've discovered a cure for discontent. "I find that if I just Do It, then it goes away. It's odd. It doesn't even have to be a commitment. It's just in that moment that it makes the difference."
It's the same no matter what it is... if I'm feeling lousy about lack of play or do with the babes, then I do something about it. Just like that, I feel happy and content again. If I'm feeling crappy about some mess, I just start to fix it.
This sounds, I realize, so completely obvious to the point of being ridiculous, and certainly it is obvious, but often I get so hung up on the Self Mastery plan and being able to walk on water that it just didn't occur to me that things can be fixed in this moment.
Which is, of course, the only moment there Is.

So there I am, face to mirror to camera. With no brands noticeable upon my face.
Maybe what saved it from being painful is that I was doing things.... loving people. Fixing my dumb little facebook page. (Or trying to.) Running. Buying a new bra.
I don't think it was so much a feeling of competence that kept me taking those photos, but rather that I just didn't have much ego left in me.

And so.
I now have a dozen or so profile pics to choose from in an album (should last me for ten years, if need be). Can choose a different one when I'm feeling sprightly.
I'm sure my friends -especially those just coming upon the scene- will wonder why on earth I took a dozen-plus photographs of myself. And if it happens very often? :) But I won't worry about that.

Taking a look from the outside was evidently something that had to be done.

'Tis done.
Let's get back to cultivating that inner Shine.

[Hits 'Publish']


  1. I am terrible at Facebook too. I always enjoy your insight. I hope you are having a blessed weekend.

  2. Great post. It really is hard to take a good long look at ones self, but it really is necessary.

    I made the decision to remove myself from facebook a while back after I started second guessing myself, and comparing myself, and loosing myself in facebook. There are odd moments when I wish I still had a place to share just a quick update, but I really am glad I made the choice.

  3. Happy New Year! I've missed being able to read your blog - hopefully I'll be able to wangle a bit of computer time this year ;-)

    Walking 17 miles is awesome! We have a 6mth old puppy, so we do lots of walking, but I don't think we do anything near that. Thankfully ;-)

    It's interesting when our inside self collides so firmly with our outside self. I tend to avoid mirrors for that reason! I find Facebook really makes me uncomfortable, and my profile picture is a flower :D

  4. I have tears reading this. It's just lovely and insightful and beautiful. Like you. I love it :)

  5. you are very beautiful and very brave....and that shines right out of those photos.


  6. LOVE this post...and I identify.:) Holly

  7. Thanks for the comments, everyone. I was nervous about what was going to come up (or not) here, as well.

    It's interesting how something that seems so shallow and inconsequential as fb (which seems shallow by nature, to me) can churn so many feelings.

    It wasn't just fb, of course, but rather events in my life (and fate or growth, I s'pose) that prompted my struggles and wildly different perspective, but certainly it was a main contributor. How weird.

    I truly thank you for your words and comments; I probably would have had a nervous breakdown if no one had responded at all. :)
    It's a very strange thing to step out of your life that you love (and the feeling that you are safe and right in living it) and to just stand there, examining it and possibly being examined.
    Unprotected and possibly unloved, with the moment seeming unwarranted.

    Thanks so much for the Love, everyone. :)
    Twas much needed!

  8. "No, Stephanie. It doesn't matter. It's quite alright to tell people you love them. Just shine it." Yes!! :D

    I think if you could have someone take pics of you and your kiddos and sweetheart as you were all "being", you'd find that you look most like yourself, since you'd be less concerned about holding your head this way and smiling that way. (If you ever want *me* to do it, I'd love too!! :) Steve (my sweetheart) is a hard one to photograph. I have to catch him off guard to get pics that look most like himself.

    I love hearing about your life and your moments of triumphs and your moments of uncertainty. You say things in such a way that I can totally relate to, understand, and connect with. Thanks for that :)

  9. Stephanie, so lovely to see the woman behind the camera.

  10. stephanie. I HEAR YOU! and i see you and you do shine, beautifully. i have been and so am there, once in a while, wondering, will this always matter? will i always have these little feelings come up again and again? it's a circle, certainly. don't know if you've noticed, but i've been including a few more pics of myself on the blog, after realizing that we have so few of me, period, and how strange will that be for my kids to look back and wonder - um, where was mom? if i want them to shine in all their messy glorious humanity, i need to let my imperfect lovely 42-ness shine as well...and oh, it's a journey! (also - the just do it, the just start it...YES! this is on my mind so much right now!)

  11. Ahem, I love you. (You knew, right?)

    Of course, I've *always* known of your outside AND inside beauty.

    Nothing new for me!

  12. Beautiful. i remind myself that all those things are periphery and who I am counts more. Glad you could reposition yourself right where you are.

  13. Stunning. Inside, outside, or outside in (inside out?). Just... stunning :)

  14. dear Stephanie, I am dealing with something similar but I am still not there. I have also read this:
    I love your blog, I have been on/off it for many years (just becaus I am not a person of habits, still I keep returning), thank you so much for sharing your life with me, it is very inspiring.

  15. So wonderful to hear your re-connecting with old loves:) Facebook is interesting to say the least. Not sure I would have done so good navigating it 20 years ago, now that I'm 40 and am as comfortable as I've ever been with who I am I can say that I actually do like it and have fun with it.

    I admire you for putting it all out there, you are beautiful btw:) Although, I'm used to seeing you smiling or laughing and your face full of expression, but you wear the serious thoughtful look well too:)

  16. Julie Darling... didn't recognize me, hmmm? You're so used to me waving my hands about and scowling and hmmphing that you don't recognize me at Still. :) (Just teasing.)

    I'm not one to smile or laugh at the mirror... much like my children, if it's not a genuine expression, there's something downright strange-looking about it. :)

    Proud Mama - I love that you used the word "periphery"... so appropriate! That's exactly what it was.
    Thanks for that.

    Jess - :) Hugs and kisses and loves to you, as always.

    Slim D - :) I have noticed, and, Yup. Expect the babes to shine in their messiness, but not being comfortable with our own. Ha! So, so true. I want my babes to be able to laugh at their mistakes, and shrug of their uncertainties! Not be paralyzed or frozen by them. oof. :)

    Thank you so much for your kind words SZ, Melody (no more pics for me for a few years, I think! :) ), Penny, and VerdeMama. I thank you so much for your loving support - it is much appreciated.

  17. Sometimes I read something that just resonates with me so strongly yet simply that all I can utter in response is, "Yes." This is one of those times.

  18. There are just SO many things I love about you...I can't even begin to list them all. I can relate to so much of what you have shared, and as I mentioned on were MY inspiration for posting some new pics of myself (and that's's easier for me when my kiddo is in them...but just me in a non-candid sort of photo...yikes. It's painful). shine inside and out my dear. I could just kiss that beautiful face. Oh how I love you to bits. xo

  19. You are a shiny lady!

    I hate taking pictures of myself, but realised a while back that if I didn't, my kids wouldn't know what I looked like when they were now I take a monthly self portrait and save it in a little file marked "Mum".

    Love your honesty - and telling people you love them can never be a bad thing, can it??

  20. But you are well loved, and that is why you will always eminate light even when you may feel a bit overcast. I will always see it.

  21. LOL! I know how that goes!! Okay, but if you change your mind, just let me know (I'm branching out into portraiture & always need models for practice :)

  22. Love this post and all the self portraits. Do you have dreads? I've been trying to include more photos of myself with the family. It's hard when your the one always holding the camera!

  23. Darcel - I do have dreads.

  24. I think you are beautiful in all ways and I admire you greatly.

  25. So awesome! Makes me love you even more now. You rock in so many ways :)

  26. Loved this post! I can relate. To the FB thing. To the taking of photos of oneself. Done. You are an inspiration!


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!