I like the daily photo challenges posted by Fat Mum Slim - it gives me just enough structured creative freedom - if that makes any sense. So, yesterday's prompt was You. I didn't stretch very far with this one, I decided on a self portrait. Not as easy as you think. I think most of us have struggles with accepting our appearance. And well, an up-close and personal shot of your face is almost never a good idea. But I did it. A simple filter and a share button later and there I was - in first place in my gallery.
When I looked at this picture yesterday, sitting on the corner of my bed, I realized how much my face has changed with age. I saw the freckles and wrinkles, the sagging skin, the tired eyes that are a dead giveaway that I am raising a toddler. And then I received incredibly positive compliments on Instagram and Facebook that made me take another look. This time I realized that my freckles are the same ones that have been there since I was a child. And that slight, crooked smile has been a staple in almost all of my photos from elementary school going forward. Most importantly I saw kindness in my eyes. They say 'eyes are a window to the soul' ... I think it's true. You can sometimes look at a lunatic and know right away that you want to walk in the other direction. The same is true when you give to someone and see their true appreciation or compliment a humble person. Eyes don't lie. And while mine say Man, I'm tired - they also say that I'm good. I saw so much in this one little square photo. And thanks to the overwhelming positive response, it kept me reflecting all day and night.
I've lived a life. I've lived longer than many people have had the chance to. I have long roads behind me and hopefully long ones ahead. I've made mistakes that have led to regrets. I've been cruel only to learn the importance of being kind. I've been selfish only to learn how much better it can feel to make others happy. My teens were typical and my twenties were a train wreck. But now, in my thirties, I have finally become the person I am proud to be. I know that what you give is more important than what you receive - and that material things mean nothing. I'm not trying to be better than anyone. And I'm a great mom. I am so much better at being a mom than I ever dreamed I'd be. Gregg and Scarlett have given me everything that I need from others - now I just have to learn how to give myself the rest.
In 2014 I will try to:
Let go of frustrating issues: I can't control what others do and say so I need to just let it roll and find peace elsewhere.
Be content with my appearance: I have said this every year since I was a kid but I am going to try to accept that I'm not a size 4 and that I have wrinkles and strands of gray.
Get way more exercise: The most cliche one of all - but it's true. I feel like crap all the time because I just can't carve out the time to routinely exercise. It is such a mental thing for me. But I need it for so many reasons - this is the longest stretch I've gone without a regular routine in at least ten years.
Stop policing myself all. the. time: I talk myself out of lots of things that I want because there are things that I should be doing instead. I'm a jerk.
Be less anxious: for example, I'd love to not panic about going outside in the buggy summer. And spring. And partial fall. Wish it was simple.
Wear more of what I like: I bought a hat last week. A winter hat. Because I like winter hats now. And I'm going to wear them.
Tonight will be very low key for me. I hope you all celebrate in your favorite ways!
I wish you all GREAT HEALTH and HAPPINESS in the New Year.
Welcome, 2014 - Be good to us all!