Well friends, it’s been a LONG time since I wrote. The radio silence has been equally due to two things. I have been busy and haven’t had anything to say that I wanted to tell the world. Many things have happened and much growth has occurred, some deeply private that I haven’t wanted to share on a platform like this, others have been smaller, creeping changes that haven’t screamed loud enough to get out of my head and on to paper. So what caused me to write again? A selfie. Profound.
A month or so ago, I was in the bathroom washing my hands, looked in the mirror and loved my hair, so I took a selfie. I looked at that picture and I loved what I saw. So I made that picture my profile picture. Now that may seem like a pretty ordinary set of events. But it wasn’t. It was significant.
Up until about a year ago, my profile picture had always been a picture of my son and I, or of a friend and I. My identity was not my own. In my life, I have been daughter, wife, mother, student, and friend. And I have lost myself in all of those roles. This year I feel like I have finally become my own person. I am a mom, and a nurse, and a daughter, and a friend, I am all of those things, and none of those things…because I am ME. And I am starting to like me.
I moved out of my tiny studio of 8 years, into pretty much my dream house, this year. It is amazing what physical space can do for you. I also moved away from the property, family, neighbors, where I have lived for practically my whole life. It is amazing what emotional space can do for you. I also started my dream job as a postpartum nurse. It is amazing what a career can do for you. My ex-husband remarried this year. It is amazing what FINAL closure can do for you. I started my son on meds this year. It is amazing what finally making progress can do for you.
Now don’t get me wrong, with all those changes, it wasn’t all roses and rainbows. It was hard, ridiculously hard at times. There were many times I laid in bed starting at the ceiling wondering what the heck I doing and how was I going to keep this up, and was this ever going to get easier. And I still wonder that sometimes. But in an advent devotional before Christmas I came across this phrase. Make room. And that has become my motto of sorts.
Make room. Make room for God. Make room for people. Make room for me. Make room to breathe. I don’t have any of those things figured out, but I am working on it. Part of making room, is letting go of expectations. I am making room for God, by dropping my guilt when I don’t meet the self imposed expectation that I should have a quite time every day. That gives me the freedom to breathe Him in and make room in little ways that snowball into bigger ways. I make room for other people, by dropping expectations, by not defining, by letting people be who they are. I make room for me by dropping the expectations I put on myself, by taking time to breathe, to rest, to connect. And the crazy thing is that since I have given myself the permission to binge watch Netflix or take a nap on a day off…my house has never been cleaner. By giving myself some room to rest and take care of myself, I am much more productive at other times.
So back to the selfie, I looked at this picture I took and I saw this cute, smart, funny, confident, content person looking back at me. I had never seen that before. Later that week I got on the scale, and realized that I was almost back up to my heaviest weight again. And I thought about that selfie and I laughed! Because it so perfectly illustrated the old saying that weight is just a number. I went looking for an old picture from when I was at that weight before. And it was a picture of a totally different person. I tried to remember what it was like being that girl. I know I didn’t feel cute, how can you when you are not comfortable in your own skin? I know I didn’t feel smart or funny, how can you when you feel helpless. I know I wasn’t confident, how can you when you are ridiculously insecure. And I know I wasn’t content, I wanted so much more out of life and how no idea how to get there.
Guess what. I didn’t get there. A year after that picture was taken, my whole world started to crumble and the life that I thought I wanted disappeared. I had to start over from the ground up. I had to decide who I wanted to be. I never expected to be the person I am now, I never set out with this goal in mind. But I have picked up the pieces and slowly put them back together and become a whole person again. A different person. A stronger person. A person with more capacity to love. A person with the capacity to love myself. A person who is better for having been broken.
And that my friends is why you should take selfies now and then. 😉