I’m going to be honest. I mean really honest. I mean more honest than I’ve ever been with myself even honest. I suck at loving myself. I’m really really great at loving others. At doing things and being there for my friends and family. Even for perfect strangers. I put everyone first, while I settle for last place. Happily. Easily. Without-a-second’s-hesitation-aly. But it ends now. It has to. I’m going to crack.
I hate my body. But what’s worse, is that I don’t love myself enough to have the courage it takes to do something about it.
Which makes me hate myself, too.
For years I’ve heard people tell me that I look great. I’m “so small,” but you guys! I’m five feet tall. Of course I’m small. The truth is that when I take off my clothes and see my reflection, I’m brought to tears. I’ve hidden behind the excuse of having a thyroid condition since I was diagnosed three years ago. I’ve pretended that I love myself just the way I am. I’ve spent the better part of a year trying desperately to say it loud enough and often enough in the hope that one day I’d wake up and the idea would stick. Take root. Grow.
But the soil is fallow. Nothing is sprouting. It’s time to plant a new crop.
I need to find a way to love myself enough to do. And that scares the hell out of me. Terrifies me. It’s been really easy to be broken. To be unhappy because of the way I look. What if I get fit and I’m still unhappy? What then? What do I hide behind when the weight comes off? I can’t even begin to pretend to know the answers to these questions, but I do know that I can’t keep doing nothing. I can’t continue to feign happiness. I can’t make it materialize one morning just because I want it. I have to work for it.
I have to start.
So here I go. After watching this girl embark upon (and beautifully and successfully complete) this journey – with a job or two, and two lovely daughters, and a busy busy life – I decided that the time to hesitate was through. Today I hired a fitness coach; I filled out a questionnaire about the food I eat and the exercise I (don’t really) do, and I committed to twelve weeks. Twelve little weeks in this great big life of mine to finally put myself first. To finally matter to myself as much as everyone else matters. To BE the change. To be love.
To do more than make a resolution. To stop breaking promises. To stop telling myself I can’t do it before I even try.
It’s time for me to be more than simply alive.
It’s time for me to live.
Help me. Encourage me. Don’t let me quit.
I want this, you guys.
(photo by my favorite anda marie).
I don’t know that I’m ready to summarize this past year in words. I don’t know that I’ve quite found the right ones just yet, and to be honest, I’m not certain I ever will. So I’m going to do the best at can right this moment, and allow my photographs to speak for me. I have exponentially more favorites than I could ever share in one blog post, so here are a few of the ones that stood out to me – in no particular order (and not including any iPhone or instagram photos.)
It’s hard to believe that each one of these stories happened this year. Some feel as though they occurred ages ago, and others, still only just yesterday. But what I do know for sure is that every single person in these photographs – and so many more that aren’t pictured here – have completely and irrevocably changed my life for the better. I can’t believe that making these images – and countless others like them – is what I’ve been chosen to do with my life.
I cherish every last one of you who has helped me on this journey.
For stepping in front of my camera.
For cheering from the sidelines.
For your friendship.
For your trust.
Thank you for making 2013 the best. year. ever.
Cheers to an even more incredible 2014.
Time is flying by lately. It’s whizzing, really, and it’s taken my breath away on several occasions. There’s so much to do, so much undone at the end of each day, and I find myself struggling to fit everything in as effortlessly as I used to. I’ve shifted somehow. I’ve changed. Rearranged. I’m currently lost in the revelry of my daughters. Their joy, their wonder, their singing and longing and curiosities. I’ve immersed myself in them and it’s been wonderful. But time flits by ever so swiftly still, and I find myself filled with a joyful sorrow; these moments, the little things that pass by without much ado, years from now they will be the big things. Every ounce of mundane – of minutia – will be a weighted trap of memory, of reminiscence. Bittersweet longing. Someday I’ll look back on today and I know it won’t be the dishes in the sink at bedtime that I miss. It won’t be the laundry on the living room floor, or the blogging left undone. It’ll be everything else. I’ll look back on today, squinting as I try to recall the way the girls sounded as they laughed and sang and fought over My Little Ponies and new slippers. I’ll lurch towards them with hands outstretched, grasping, but falling short. I’ll fail. The memories will be mere echoes. Ghosts. Frosted panes of poorly etched glass, eroded quietly by a thousand sunsets and rainstorms.
But everything I photograph, everything I write down will be a lighthouse in the fog of time, the ocean of forgetting. It will be an anchor to all that matters from the past. That matters right now. It will bring me back to the years that will suddenly feel lost. Distant. Aching.
This is exactly why I need to write more. Take more photographs. Immerse myself ever deeper and allow the dishes to pile and the laundry to wrinkle. This is why I’m here.
It’s not about never forgetting.
It’s about making a way to remember.
I’m building a beacon.
Because I want to remember that Stella can perfectly imitate a southern accent. That Elena wants to wear glasses and worries that she’s not pretty. That Stella has started rubbing her ear when she sucks her thumb and she reminds me of Prince John from Disney’s Robin Hood. That Elena complains about this boy, Albert, who always talks to her during quiet time at school, and that she has a boyfriend already but she’s not going to marry him so I shouldn’t worry. That Stella loves to swim and sing and started dancing tonight at Target next to the yogurt. That Elena and Stella met Santa for the first time this year and loved it. That they still sleep together in the same bed so they can snuggle. That Stella will come up to me, completely unsolicited, and give me a giant hug and run off. That Elena wants to be next to me, no matter what I’m doing, because it’s cool to hang with Mom.
That this thing called motherhood is the hardest and most daunting and scary and wonderful and perfect and beautiful thing I’ve ever done with my life and I’m terrified of failing at it every. single. day. And that somehow I think I’m equally afraid that I’m doing it exactly right and it’s supposed to be this cruel and magnificent and difficult and uncertain and infuriating and delightful.
And I want to remember that my baby girl is about to turn four. FOUR. I’m not ready for her grow up. I’m just not. I want to hold on like hell to right now.
And I don’t want to ever let go.