Because of a story I told in one of last year’s tater tot posts, I was looking for a picture of my hair for the April tater tot post to compare hair lengths to last year
Allow me to explain. I wanted to document my current hair length to show how far I’ve come.
I despise selfies.
I’d even resorted to taking blog profile pictures while standing on furniture.
Apparently, it was to get the “good light” or something. Don’t judge, we all started somewhere.
So back to my hair picture, I took pictures of myself (oh, that’s where the name came from) while standing in my kitchen one morning, trying to look less like I’d inhaled two bowls of chocolate ice cream two days before and more like I was this stronger person I’m trying to become.
Whilst in a pandemic.
We are still in it, by the way.
I know it doesn’t feel like we are, with less and less coverage in the news, but it is still everywhere.
I saw this statistic the other day from CNN:
March 1st, 2020- 89 cases, 2 deaths
March 1st, 2021- 28,614,504 cases, 513,393 deaths
Talk about a reality check.
We’ve seen a lot of reality over the course of a year. Not all of it pandemic-related. My posts about hair lengths, menopause, cream of wheat, and the progress of my book were filler, distraction, and diversion.
Mike and I were discussing the goals I had for my book, as in what is the primary aim of my book? Not for you, my reader, but for myself.
Why am I writing this book in the first place?
I used to believe I knew the answer, but now? I am not so sure.
I’ve been reading too many spiritual books; yes, there is such a thing.
“When you can write your autobiography on the back of a stamp and still have room to spare, I wish to meet you,” the author says in White Fire, the book I talked about last week.
Titles, degrees, and accomplishments used to impress me. After the year we’ve had, I’ve become impressed with different things.
People who check in on each other when they are quiet or those who are the last to leave a hug. The way a person communicates with someone when the public isn’t looking or when that person has nothing to gain from that conversation. Someone doing something incredibly sweet and time-consuming, yet does not desire credit, financial gain or to have it shared on social media. Doing it for the sake of friendship, or kinship, or love?
That right there is the good shit.
When I originally started writing my screenplay, I believed I wanted to become famous. Later, I recognized that it was written as a diversion from perimenopause in order to save me from internal loathing and agonizing depression.
When I started writing my book, I was nearing the end of my perimenopause and I was in a lot of physical and emotional pain. I was writing as therapy and a remedy for all that was wrong with me. When I returned to the book this past November, it was a distraction to help me through different personal struggles that I won’t get into here.
I’ve ripped the book apart so many times that it doesn’t even resemble the book I first began writing last June. I have had a love-hate relationship with this book, and there are many times that I have had to walk away from it.
Like a breakup with a lover.
My cousin Kristy sent this to me recently:
I started writing this book to help myself. Then it turned into a matter of helping others. Then it became a matter of pride for me. Then it evolved into a passion project. Then it was again about my pride.
“I don’t want this to be just another screenplay. I don’t want people to think I never follow through on things,” I would write in my journals.
I should not have told anyone that I was writing a book.
Next time, I won’t.
I took several selfies on a Tuesday morning.
I didn’t photoshop them, and the only filter I used was “dramatic” on my iPhone because this year was very much so.
Dramatic, that is.
This is me. This is who I am. After a year of reality.
My hair is in desperate need of a trim and a highlight. I have worry lines and bags under my eyes because there is a lot going on behind the scenes here every day, as I’m sure there is in your world.
I haven’t taken a vacation in more than two years. I’ve been homeschooling my child for nearly three years. Thank God I’m taking 100 mg of an antidepressant every day.
The sides of my lips are chapped since I recently had my braces removed at an orthodontist appointment. I quietly finished my braces a few weeks ago, but it doesn’t matter because no one really sees my smile anymore. I can’t passionately kiss my husband because he is an essential worker who still isn’t eligible for his vaccination.
All of those things up there would have made no sense to me a year ago, but they are now a part of my existence.
Despite the fact that last year was difficult, I recognize it as an opportunity to look at my life in a new light. It offered me a second chance.
I made changes, let go of some baggage, and gained wisdom.
A year ago, I was less sympathetic. A year ago, I was considerably more self-centered. A year ago, I would spend an obnoxious amount of time on Facebook each day. A year ago, it would have mortified me to share the images above with all of you. I would have sent them to my Pic Monkey editor and altered the hell out of them. Smoothed the lines and the cracks, concealed the age spots and the wrinkles and pretended that it was the real me.
A year later, I am not as bothered about those things. A year later, I am content to simply be. I am flawed and I happily accept it. The lines, the dry skin, and the extra ten pounds I gained over winter. Okay, 15 pounds. All of it I am okay with.
I can admit to failures in my life and not bristle at them.
There are so many layers to the meme my cousin shared with me on Instagram. I felt it might be applied to a variety of other scenarios in life.
How a struggling teenager perceives themselves versus how a caring father sees them.
How a kindergartner views their artwork versus how their delighted mother sees it.
How we see our bodies versus how God/Universe/Creator/something larger at work views our beautiful bodies.
The image on the left closely portrays how I felt on the inside of my body a year ago.
The image on the right is becoming more representative of how I feel on the inside of my body now.
Thanks to an antidepressant, six months of menopause, half a year of soul homework, and an entire year of scaling back on my former life.
Things I felt I “needed” in my daily life.
There are many things I will not return to after all of this is over.
It’s interesting what a year of reality will do to a perspective, isn’t it?