Friday, September 13: A self portrait.
This photo was taken on a beautiful morning at the Des Moines Farmers Market, one of those days where all seems right with the world due to bright blue skies, vibrant fresh flowers, perfect temperature, great company, delicious eats and great coffee. I like to tuck those sorts of moments in the pocket of my heart for later, for the hard or bad times when I need a reminder of the ebbs and flows of life. But this picture serves as a reminder that makes me smile: I was really happy that mundane Saturday morning.
It's funny--when I was younger and saw a picture of myself, I instantly made a mental list of the things that were "wrong" with me. My smile was too big. My arms were too scrawny. My hair was too curly. And most of all, I hated the mole on my neck. This mole brought me such angst growing up; I would actually cry about it in junior high because I thought it was sooo ugly and nobody else had moles. I think I even asked my mom if I could have surgery to cut it off, which seems really melodramatic now. Throughout high school and college, I succumbed to the typical female self-criticism--I could be a little thinner, I could be a little prettier--and post-college brought about its own struggles with self-esteem due to a series of difficult, failed relationships.
I'm sure many women my age could easily share their own version of the same journey, but what I realize with this self-portrait post is that somewhere along the way, I stopped being so hard on myself. I stopped critiquing every angle of myself in a photo, and I stopped finding something wrong with what I found in the mirror every day. I just stopped, because it felt like a waste of time and it was pretty exhausting. I don't look at that picture and feel inclined to nitpick my appearance (and I sure don't see that damn mole!); instead, I see happiness on my face, and I am happy knowing that my self-vision is a little clearer and kinder.