I’ve taken a few days off from blogtember and had seriously thought about not participating in today’s post of a self portrait.
I asked myself why and the first thought was “I don’t want to.” However, like a good counselor will do, I made myself go further. (I heard the voice of one my past clinical supervisors). Why didn’t I want to?
In practice, it was not uncommon for me to ask clients to use the three way mirror exercise. (Yes, the horrible mirror that shows all sides). The mirror on the left represents the former you, the mirror on the right is the current you and the middle mirror is the you that you hope to become. I asked people to write down descriptions of who they were physically, emotionally and any other way they would describe him or herself. We change after a loss, sometimes forget who we once were, what we once wanted. Transitions periods are not comfortable. That time where you know you are changing and it is for the better but you just want to get it over with.
So why didn’t I want to participate in this prompt? The likelihood is that I truly don’t know how this will all end up. I have pieces of me all over the place and there are days that I like all of them and days I want to change everything. I’m not a person who likes not knowing.
So today I’m looking at both who I was before these deaths and losses and who I am today and preparing for who I am becoming.
From a physical standpoint, I’m still petite, exactly 60 inches (haven’t grown since 7th grade). As I don’t work in an office everyday, I don’t wear the heels like I use to. There are days I miss that and days that I don’t. The hair (yes, the hair that gets me stopped by others) – it’s still long, more blond than it used to be at this time. Sadly, stress has made it thinner and I am beginning to see the return pieces around my face. The weight is slowly going down – as I looked back over the years, stress took it’s toll on my body in the way of weight. But of course, on a small girl, 5 pounds can look like 20.
I’m not as organized as I once was and find that things which use to drive me crazy, no longer have that affect. I have a guest room full of boxes from my Mom’s and I say to myself “I’ll get to that in time.” There was a time when I would have stayed up until 3 in the morning to put everything up. I see now that it’s OK that some things don’t have to be done “Perfect” (or my definition of perfect.) I didn’t take care of my outdoor flowers like I used to this year. In the past I would be out watering plants in the morning before work if I forgot. I found that the flowers did OK. The outdoors looked OK. I still love to decorate but this year I’ve had the same wreath on my door since January. A neighbor recently was walking by and asked if I made it and told me how much she loved it. She wasn’t appalled that I’ve had the same wreath on my door all year. Only I care that my neighbor keeps posting pictures of her new wreaths. I think it’s a positive that I’m beginning to think about new decorations or making changes. I simply don’t have the energy to put things out yet.
I’ve always been the responsible one but this year I’ve let go of responsibilities. In addition to leaving my job, I reluctantly resigned from the Junior League because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to be who I wanted to be within the organization. For the past two years I had declined leaderships positions because I knew that I didn’t have the time or energy. I was always honored to be asked and hated turning it down but I’ve learned my limits. (this isn’t to say that I didn’t try to think how I could do it all) In the past I have tried to do it all. And I’m certain that it cost me in many ways.
I’m becoming more aware of who and what I dedicate my time to, as time is limited.
I am more of a believer than ever to listen to your gut instinct, or God, or whatever you want to tell that voice that you hear. It will not steer you wrong and will take you where you need to be. The past seven months of my life have been a lesson in listening, to myself and to the universe. I currently don’t know where I am going but I know I am on the right road.
I continue to love to laugh and find humor daily. Laughter is as therapeutic as any tears or medicine. Life is not all serious. Life is short. It’s important to take time to just be.
I still have hope. A student I once supervised asked me about hope and I stated I simply believe that hope is knowing that no matter how great the pain or difficulty you are in today, that it will eventually not be like this. It will be better. Things do get better.
As I continue this journey, I remind myself that the tragedy in the deaths of my Mom and Nanny would be if I didn’t learn something. If I didn’t learn that there were aspects of my life that I placed too much emphasis on, or that I needed to take time for more things.
Finally, the following picture is a perfect example of how I’ve always seen myself and I continue to do so today. I love to remind my friends that I’m a true Leo. I’m the loyal lioness who has no idea she’s a small little kitten. (Reminds me of the time someone doubted my height and said – you just have a big presence in those heels!)