Tag Archives: selfies

AprilLove2016 Day 8 – Dear Younger Me

Where are the first 7 days, you’re probably wondering?

And what is AprilLove2016?

The Younger Me in college (1997). This was when I started experimenting with self-portraiture. Yes, I took selfies before they were cool. 😉

Okay, AprilLove2016 is a journaling/creativity challenge where every day you get a prompt, and then you write (or draw, or photograph, or something else creative!) a love letter. It’s been pretty fun so far. Days 1-7 are written in my journal and I’ve elected to keep them private.

But this one really resonates with me, and I believe it will resonate for lots of folks, too, so I decided to make this one public.

So, onward to the love letter.

Dear Younger Me,

I wish I could have told you — and made you believe me — that things would get better: that you weren’t always going to be made fun of and bullied; that someone (several someones actually!) would love you; that you’d become one hell of a writer and photographer. That you’d be beautiful, in your own way. That you’d feel better about yourself and, most importantly, not want to die.

Oh, sure, there were times when I (Older Me) have still felt like that, but there’s one very important thing is that I got help. So, you’d never have to worry about feeling that alone ever again or that hopeless, because there is hope, and it was there. I was in my twenties when I made that all-important, life-saving decision to get help.

You were never alone.

You had friends. You had boyfriends. I know you continued to feel awkward in your skin, so much that the idea of dancing froze you up, and that unfortunately, had still persisted. But feeling okay? Not like a freak? That’s much less. Sure, there’s the whole chronic illness  thing to contend with now, but damn, girl, what you went through then prepared me for this. It gave me strength and tenacity and an iron will. It helped me cope with my chronic facial pain. When you used to say to yourself, “if they don’t see how much they are hurting me, they’ll leave me alone,” you didn’t know that someday you’d be using that same skill to not fall apart when the eye pain got so bad you couldn’t think. It helped me to be more stoic and calm, and not complain or curse my fate (well, I did, a few times, but I made sure to also be grateful that I could still see!).

Everything you did then, everything you felt then, led to me to the woman I am today. I just turned forty, you know. Back then, I couldn’t imagine forty. You know, a “real grown up.” When you had your first boyfriend and had that nasty break up, you learned from that experience although it hurt so bad back then. And then the next one — and the one after that — all the way to my husband now. All the things you went through, all the heartbreak, all the disappointment, all THE SHIT, was preparing me for this marriage I am now. It wouldn’t work so well without all that experience, all that heartache you went through, that taught me how to function in a relationship.

This is the Older Me today, in my home office. See that blue photo behind me on the right? That’s one of mine. Originally b&w, toned brilliant blue. The lovely green, red, and yellow wall hang beside it was made by my very creative Mom. 😉 

When you had jaw surgery at fifteen, and couldn’t talk for three weeks and couldn’t eat solid food for two months, I’m not sure how you made it. When you had to go back to school in the fall with your jaws wired shut, you had to reach down into reserves of strength you didn’t know you possessed. Your French teacher said, after listening to you trying to speak French, that you were brave. To which you answered, “I’m just doing what I have to do.” And when the wires got cut and your jaws were stuck, you didn’t cry as the doctor cranked them open. Didn’t cry when you were forced to do it to yourself every day at home so you could eat. Didn’t cry when everyone else could eat cake at your sister’s party, and all you could “eat” was frosting and ice cream. Yeah, you were strong. This taught you strength and resilience and perseverance for what was to come.

Your decisions weren’t stupid, you know. They were the right ones for you at the time. You couldn’t possibly know what would happen in the future, that a driver’s license would be out of my reach, or that my health would be the suck. You loved writing, so you went for Journalism. You fell in love with photography, so you pursued that (and had to have your own darkroom!). Nothing is ever wasted, nothing is a mistake. Granted, my life looks so much different than the one I envisioned in my twenties, but who cares? I’m me. I’m still the same person. My goals and dreams have changed dramatically. (By the way, that dream you had about being published? Yeah, did that in 2012.;) ) And that’s perfectly fine. You were such a dreamer. You really were. And I suppose I am still, but I’ve grown up, you know? Things change, but that’s not always a bad thing. We’re evolving. We’re meant to become who we’re meant to become.

I am still evolving, I think. I’m not sure when that will stop, if it will. I’m learning still, even though I’ve been out of school for twenty years. Life teaches you so much.

I have a quote that I absolutely love: “The world breaks everyone. And afterward, many are strong at the broken places.” I think the world — and perhaps life? — broke you a bit there. But you grew stronger. What was weak is now strong. What is sad is now happy. What is broken is now put back together.

I think I will always be a bit broken, though. I don’t think I’d want to be “fixed.” Reason being, this is what gives my writing/photography/etc such depth. Because I feel so deeply, and strongly, and I know what it’s like to lose everything. I know what it’s like to feel like a freak. I know what it’s like to be in someone’s shadow, to not be perfect. To not be cool.To feel like I failed. To feel like I am worthless and not worth loving. That nothing of me is worth it. That I exist in darkness, bereft of light.

This is only slightly true. But I’m working on it. It’s because of you. The You From Back Then taught me this.

But you also taught me how to be free.

And that, my dear, is everything.

Year of No Fear – 2014 Manifesto – May Progress Report

May was the month where I finally made some awesome headway on conquering my fears. Here’s what I did:

~Poetry: Wrote 10 (!!) drafts, edited 2 old drafts, and 3 of the 10 poems written were about a subject I haven’t been able to write about for 5 years. I’d say that’s progress!

~Photography: First shoot done on 5/10. Low light/Church. Beautiful pictures. 😀

~Erotica: I started Awaken Me on 5/4, a novella about cat shifters. Still in progress.

~Self-portraits: Been taking them hit and miss. Still nothing artsy, but I have been keeping my eye out for something cool to wear that won’t break the bank.

~Revision: Restarting Grave Touched today or tomorrow.

~New project: Although it’s not technically part of my Year of No Fear, I did start a new novel called Soulfire. It has a cool concept. Usually, I’d wait till I finished something, but I feared (!!) the enthusiasm and ideas would just vanish. Or it would take over and I’d mess up my deadlines. Well, no. I decided to start on it anyway and work on it when I could. I am trusting that I can do this without screwing things up.

So I’m pretty happy with what I’ve done so far. Here’s to much more!

Year of No Fear 2014 Manifesto: April Progress Report

So, here we are at the end of April. So what have I accomplished? Well, it’s been tough going because of my back. Still having issues. It’s majorly bumming me out, but at the moment, there’s not much I can do.

~Self-portraits: I’ve taken a selfie almost every day this month on my Kindle Fire HDX. Getting a bit more used to it now. And it’s kind of fun to sift through the pictures and see what I looked like, what I wore, etc. A lot of them were taken at work in the Conference Room where I take my lunch (half) hour. Getting there! (I still haven’t gotten up the courage to do an artsy shoot…baby steps!)

~Erotica: I have a bit of an idea of what I want to do, and I’d like to write a novella in a month or so. This month’s experience writing Reaper Girl taught me that I can make decent progress on another project. I not only hit my preferred wordcount, but I wrote 12k more than I was supposed to. Oops? Still, it was very freeing and thrilling and I wanna do it again. ASAP. I have a premise, I have my two main characters, I have a sort of plot, and I even have a working title. Just need to start.

~Poetry: I wrote my first poem of the year on 4/27/14. It’s not perfect, or even pretty, but it’s a start!

~Photography: I’m hoping (*crossing fingers*) that I can do some shooting this weekend. I hope!

~Ice skating: Still in the plan.

~Cultivating other creative things: I’ve got a possibility, just need to find the time to work on it and learn the technique.

Moving along!

Year of No Fear – 2014 Manifesto – March Progress Report

This has been a very slow month for me because my back is still a problem, so most of what I wanted to do had to be put off. 😦 Makes me sad, but the year is still young and I need to take care of myself.

So here’s the rundown of what I’ve accomplished:

~Poetry: I’ve looked over some poem drafts. Still waiting for something to gel. Got everything set up on my HDX so if something hits me on the go, I can jump on it.
~Self-portraits: I’ve started, as an experiment, taking selfies on my new Kindle Fire HDX. Totally not serious, completely goofy, just to get used to doing it again. I’m going to try to take a pic a day for 30 days, and see how that goes. It’s something.
~Photography: Got plans. Need to execute them as soon as my back is better (HDR photos and park photos are planned, so far).
~Ice skating: On hold till back is better. But hey, I got new ice skates from the hubby for my birthday! Can’t wait to try them out!
~Revision: It’s coming along pretty darned well. Just hit 40k in draft, and I’m excited about it again. This month however is devoted to my TDP anthology story “Reaper Girl” which is due May 1st.
~Erotica: Ideas are happening. No real time to tinker, unfortunately.
~Diet: Lost 7 pounds! Trying really hard to watch what I eat and how much.
~Optimism: Been sorta tough with health things happening, but I am trying.

And that’s basically it. Still progressing which is good, right?