Or is there? Or more importantly, does it matter?
That's when it's time to take a step back. I am reminded of a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt, "Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent." It is I who feels insecure of my own image. Taken at an unflattering angle, you all can see the weight that's built up over the years, acne scars, gray hairs (I actually love my gray streaks), loose skin, droopy jowls. People see me at flattering and unflattering angles all day long. There is no opportunity for me to edit, photoshop away the shine on my nose or lay over a soft filter to mask the scars before I am seen. Yet, I love and am loved all the same.
Except... those moments when I see a chance reflection of myself. Ouch. How did I get this big? This tired? This old? I catch myself from sinking in despair and smile.
My daughter was playing with my camera phone just this last weekend. She snapped a photo of me while chopping vegetables with my mother in the background. It is one of my favorite past-time these days, preparing food in the kitchen when my mom and I get together. One that I look forward to a lot. She loves all the delicious raw foods that I've been experimenting with, and I love an appreciative partner. Chloe showed me the photo and she and my mom exclaimed how beautiful it was. I cringed. I saw the stooped shoulders, the baggy shirt, the large body, the unattractive angle that showed my sagging jowls. I made her delete it.
Now I wish I had it. I want to show it to you - the image of me doing something that I truly love. The image that my daughter saw and loved. The image that my mother saw and loved. That is what I wish to embrace, what I am trying to love. All of me. In spite of all of the above. I looked back through my photo archives and found almost nothing of myself. Typical when I'm the one safely hiding behind the lens. Instead, here is me with the kids on a colder day in Chicago.
When I was looking for that quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, I found this written by blogger, Davey Wavey:
No one can tear you down, unless you give them power over you to do so.Wise words. He's right, you know.
No one can hurt you, unless you let them.
No one can deflate you, without your permission.
No one can tell your truth, without your okay.
No one can make you angry, unless you give them that ability.
No one can define you, without your authority.