On this day, 10 years ago, something terrible happened…
(Previously written and can be read here…)
On this day, 10 years ago, something terrible happened…
(Previously written and can be read here…)
Listen. I hear you. You’re a few pounds heavier than you like (or a 100 lbs heavier than you like). I completely understand how you feel. I get that same blah feeling about myself when I think about booking new head shots or long overdue pictures of me and Justin. Precious, I even picked a career that has me permanently behind the camera rather than in front of it. Seeing myself in pictures actually produces the faintest sick feeling in my stomach. Isn’t it amazing we can see the beauty in our best friends, sisters, mothers, and aunts without the slightest thought to their flaws… but can obsess for hours on our own imperfections? We fixate on our flaws to the point we shirk at any documentation that our round faces and curvy bodies ever walked the earth. No pictures to show how we LOVE, how we laugh, how we are treasured by our families. How is it possible that a double chin can overpower the beauty of a mother cuddling her child? How does arm fat distract from the perfect shot of a spontaneous hug? I swear y’all… how is it that we can put more value on a TUMMY ROLL than the captivating way you throw yourself into a roar of laughter during a shoot?
In our warped minds pictures become frozen mirrors that we can stare at as we pick apart our features over and over again.
I know girl. I know.
My personal duck-and-cover (or signature “make a funny face”) approach to having pictures of myself changed completely when I had a serious car accident last year (and started over). In the flash of a second (or a flash of the text message the young woman was reading) my entire life changed. I nearly left this earth with no physical evidence of the goofy, wide open and loud love I have for my life, my husband, my family and friends. I haven’t had professional pictures done since our wedding in 2006… always waiting for this elusive moment where I would be thin enough (pretty enough) to have such a permanent record of me. Because, you know, HEAVEN FORBID there be any proof that I look the way I actually look.
So here is the harsh truth y’all. Listen good. Our vanity is no longer enough of a reason to avoid the camera. Life doesn’t wait until you “get thin” enough to capture it. Life is happening… it is happening right now and the only moment we are guaranteed is the one we are living. I shudder at the thought of leaving behind no pictures of my life with ME in it. My mom says of the accident she is “just glad that we’re still a whole family.” My gift to her this Christmas was a family portrait showing just that, nine months post-accident… a whole family.
Do you know what my mom sees when she looks at this picture? Her beautiful family all together.
Do you know what my husband sees? The family he gained the moment he met me (and how much he looks like my dad…)
Do you know what my dad sees? The happy family he has worked for every day of his life.
Do you know what my brother sees? That he got away with wearing shorts…
Shocker: No one is looking at how fat I look.
Can we agree to put the value of family over the value of fat? Can we just accept that the weight you’ve been trying to lose for 5 years might actually just be a part of what you look like… and that if this magical day does come when you’re acceptably thin you’ll STILL regret not having any pictures of you with your kids from ages 5-10? Can we acknowledge that the insecurities we have in our heads will never be a part of how our children, husbands, and friends see us? Can we just please let our loved ones remember the YOU they love?
Your children want pictures with their mom.
Your husband wants pictures with his beautiful wife.
Your mom and dad want pictures of the happy, successful, amazing woman they raised (OK, and more pictures of the grandkids while you’re at it).
And if you’re thinking that high school friend on Facebook will say to herself (“wow she has gained weight”) then… news flash you DID. You gained weight. Shed a tear. Read a book. Drink a sweet tea. Watch Oprah. Whatever it takes. Accept this reality… YOU GAINED WEIGHT. The truth is you’ve gained a lot of other things too (a career, a family, some kids, a house, a love for travel, the ability to coordinate your separates…) and that girl from high school is going to spend a lot more time hating on those things then she ever will on your double chin.
So you’re feeling too fat to be photographed? OK… but you’re the only one who notices. The rest of us are too caught up in loving you.
Teresa is a photographer and blogger. Her work can be found at myfriendteresablog.com.
Recently I held a Bridal Shower for a childhood bestie of mine. At it, her Grandma was wilin’! In the middle of spewing hilarious stories and one-liners, she shared with us how she’s been drinking Apple Cider Vinegar “with Mothers” for her metabolism and energy.
I’ve heard about this before and when my Mom jumped on board, I figured I’d follow suite.
My mom drinks it down in an 8oz. glass of water with a little honey. While I didn’t think that was the worst thing in the world, I prefer to just get it over with.
So, last Monday I started taking 1 tbs vinegar mixed with 1 tbs. warm water and a little honey, twice a day; throwing it back like a shot.
One evening I even managed to convince my poor sweet boyfriend to participate (why does he date me?!)…
Needless to say, he wasn’t thrilled and when I threw mine back without trouble, he reminded me that he’s a better person than I am (*my words, not his) and that I’ve had experience taking shots that burn your face. To which I say…
Now for the terrible…
Just a couple days ago, I ran home from work for lunch realizing that I had forgotten to take my Apple Cider Vinegar morning dose. I whipped up my concoction, cheers-ed myself (as I always do because I’m that big of a nerd), and threw it back…
I very (very) quickly realized that it wasn’t tingling down my throat and settling into my stomach like it usually did …it felt like it was stuck somewhere in my face… like it detoured to that in-between place where your throat meets your nose. I struggled to find oxygen and my eyes began to burn with a fire I can’t even explain. After what felt like an eternity of drowning in Vinegar and at a loss of what else to do to survive, I leaned over the sink, begging every crevice in my face to let the devil juice out.
A sneeze saved me (or damned me) and it all came pouring out; out of my nose, out of my tear ducts, out of my pores, and out of my mouth.
Y’all, the pain was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. It took me a few minutes to get my bearings and eyesight back and when I did, I had to run back to the office and carry on like I hadn’t just experienced something terribly life-changing.
For your pleasure (and because I knew that the people I love would love this story this way), I documented the whole experience and the hours following in real time below via SnapChat.
Just be careful, my friends. I started taking my shots again recently but they’re much smaller and I’m much less confident; no longer ignorantly cheers-ing myself like I’m a boss.
Until next horrific life event.
I don’t know much about Alzheimers/Dementia – in fact, I know nothing more than how difficult it is to watch and experience alongside someone you love…
I am blessed to have close relationships with both my immediate and extended family. My parents, brother, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and I have spent a number of memorable and amazing vacations, holidays, events, and visits together throughout my almost-28 years and I can say with complete confidence and conviction that my family, both immediate and extended, takes number one in my life: my number one blessing and my number one favorite thing.
I have two grandparents here still (and wonderful-solid memories of the 18-25 years with the two that are doing their thing in heaven now).
My grandparents, Granne and Pop / Anne and Ray, have been married for 61 years; they have 3 children, 3 married-in-children, 6 grandchildren, 3 great grandchildren, and a Katie (a beloved Shih Tzu / dog-child). These facts have been my grandmother’s favorite things to tell people. Whether they be new friends, old friends, pastors, nail technicians, receptionists, waitresses, bartenders, or janitorial staff; if they’ve crossed paths with my grandmother, they know she has been married for 61 years… has 3 children, 3 married-in-children, 6 grandchildren, 3 great grandchildren, and a Katie.
Growing up, I have to admit I sometimes shrunk from the long family rundown she’d do for strangers… but now my grandmother is starting to forget… and thinking on it now, on her repeatedly listing us as the first thing she wanted someone (anyone, everyone) to know about her… that love… I can’t help but want that repeat-rundown back…
Granne, I can’t even imagine what you’re going through right now. I know you’re forgetting some things and, it seems to me at least, you’re starting to forget them faster these days. I know that the things happening in your life don’t make sense to you; it’s hard to keep track of events, people, and timelines and as a result, some of your behaviors aren’t “you” anymore. I know you fight them. I know you want to be strong; to be yourself and to be who you’ve always been for all of us. I know you’re scared, Granne. Who could blame you?
Here’s the thing though, Granne… you don’t have to be scared (and as I’ll explain, neither do we).
You married an amazing man 61-years ago; our beloved Pop, a man who, no matter how hard it gets, no matter the challenge, no matter the drama or the controversy, chooses you; who never wavers on the words, “she’s my girl” in the face of the fight.
You brought three people up in this crazy world; taught them to work hard, to care for one another, to love other people, to have faith, to be strong, to laugh at themselves, and to give back… and they married three people who do the same.
Your three (turned six) people, brought more people into the world and taught them (us!) to work hard, to care for one another, to love other people, to have faith, to be strong, to laugh at ourselves, and to give back.
You see Granne, you created and trained your own team; a team of people who were taught the qualities that a good life requires; the qualities that are especially required now. These people… your people… love you, will take care of you, look out for you, cheer you on, and fight for what’s best for you.
Here’s the other thing Granne, you also taught us to do all these things for each other. We’ll travel through life loving each other, taking care of each other, looking out for each other, cheering each other on, and fighting for what’s best for one another.
You don’t have to be scared for you and you don’t have to be scared for us – because you gave us the gift of each other – which, I have to say, is my very favorite thing.
As you start to forget, Granne, we don’t want you to worry; we won’t. We’ll hold on to the memories that you may not always be able to recall.
We’ll hold on to Charleston, Folly, Seabrook… your “pink house and purple car,” your shrimp and grits, your giant Christmas tree, your mac-n-cheese recipe…
We’ll hold on to the recitals, concerts, tournaments, games, graduations, and weddings you were at… the dances we’ve danced, the games we’ve played, the fun and laughs we’ve had…
We’ll hold on to your strength, your determination, your southern sass, your protective nature, your family-focus, and your ability to chug a frozen margarita in 3 seconds flat…
We’ll hold on to the memories and stories of the parties you had, the friendships you cultivated, the people you helped, the places you’ve seen, the support you’ve provided, the amazing wife/mother/grandmother you’ve been, and the endless love you continue to give… even as life changes around you.
Granne, it’s going to be different, but it’s going to be okay. We are a forever-team. You are not alone. You don’t have to be scared… we’ve got this… because we’ve always had you.
So much appreciation, respect, and love forever and ever and ever.
A week or so ago, I threw away my beloved wine bottle opener. It had seen better days, it was time; plus I had just opened a bottle and figured I’d buy another opener before I got through the new bottle.
…I severely underestimated myself… or overestimated myself…? Either way.
Last night, I found myself in my pajamas early, bottle of Barboursville Red in hand… without an opener.
Panic immediately set in. Never mind the fact that I live two blocks from a grocery store where they sell both wine openers and screw-cap wine bottles (my personal favorite). I started digging through drawers, through bags, through shelves, through boxes and closets. Nothing.
I sat down in a chair for a self-pep-talk, “think… think, think, think! There has to be a way – there has to be!” All of a sudden, a video my cousin had posted on my Facebook wall popped into mind- link – simple enough, I had a shoe and I had a wall… I spent the next 5 minutes slamming said shoe against said wall without success.
“Okay… okay, okay…think…”
Then it hit me — panic… desperation — but also… screw… screw driver… hammer… I lunged towards the tool box that my dad had given me (which hadn’t seen much use until now); SCREW! SCREWDRIVER! HAMMER! I put the bottle on the counter, stood over it basking in my own brilliance, screwed the screw into the cork, flipped the hammer around and started pulling. The screw popped right out… but the cork, ugh, the cork did not…
The screw was too small, God bless it, the screw was too small.
Then delirium set in. I’m not ashamed of my actions, though I’m aware that I crossed over into to a place that I can never return from…
I went into my bedroom, removed a larger screw from a piece of furniture, dropped it into a pot of boiling water that I had on the stove intending to make noodles, strained it, screwed that 4″ sucker into the cork, plopped down on the floor cross-legged with the bottle pinned between my bare feet, and used every ounce of strength I had to pull the screw AND CORK out with the backside of the hammer…
And hour after my original inkling for wine…
Wine. Sweet victory. And neither had ever tasted so good.
For the record, this makes it official… I fully intend on ruling the world one day.
Have a great weekend!
So, in the last year alone, I’ve been prescribed antibiotics as a result of: dropping a hot frying pan on my own hand, accidentally slamming a hot baking sheet into my own chest; falling off a non-moving boat, and getting bitten by a spider at a 5-star restaurant.
In looking at the bright side… I think my life fully proves that…
Be encouraged, my friends.
Oops, I let a lot of time slip by! It’s been a crazy-whirl-wind start to Spring.
With regard to this post…
And that’s really all there is to say about that.
I promise to be back this weekend with a good story! I owe you that!