252 Days of Tinas

Yep. I’m officially sick of taking self-portraits. The practice has now become a challenge because I’m simply tired of doing it. 252 days are enough. At this point I just want to see it through to the 366th day and then enjoy some time away from the camera.

The only image from this week that feels remarkable was taken while I was standing beside a bonfire of yard trimmings and weeds, I didn’t shoot the fire because I wanted the sun. I wanted to get one of those sparkly, glowy sunbeam shots before le soleil set behind the neighbor’s house and trees. And I did get one of those but what I also got was my sister. If I didn’t take the photo myself I would swear this it was a picture of my sister. With soot/dirt globs on her face from the fire and sweat in her hair and a long glorious wrinkle across the top of the cheek. Okay, the wrinkle is all me, but the rest…

…couldn’t be deleted. At least not because of the wrinkle. And definitely not because the blonde eyebrows all but disappeared, which made the puff-a-lumps and frown lines on the forehead more noticeable. Despite all of that I looked like my sister. I wouldn’t delete her. I wouldn’t delete an image of her with wrinkles or puffs or dirt on her face. And this is why this practice is still relevant. Because even after 252 Days of accepting Me I’m still tempted love and accept all the wrinkles and puffs and dirt on someone else’s face but not my own.

So 252 days obviously haven’t been enough. Even after 252 days the love and acceptance I would extend to my sister I am still tempted to withhold from Myself. I will look upon her face with kind eyes but still want to throw my own away. If I haven’t unlearned this after 252 days, when will I learn it? Because let’s get real here. I’m less than four months from turning 45 years old. There will never be another picture of me taken that doesn’t have wrinkles and puffs. From this point forward my face will never look younger than this, never be smoother, never be taut and springy. I will only get more wrinkly, more puffy, and more saggy. All my sun damage will show. All the years of running in weather extremes, all the stress and trauma, all the laughing and crying, hard loving and hard living, all gonna be more and more visible with each passing day, and it won’t be limited to just my face.

It’s all of me now. Chest. Chin. Arms. Fanny. All of it will show on all of me. I have no more time left. What was once a worry about Someday is here and now. It’s today, and there’s no going back. Anything I did not do in the prevention department (which was pretty much everything) is too bad. I’ve got no more chances and no more years to work on it. I’d better embrace what is because it is never going to be any better than this. It’s not the harsh truth; it’s just the truth. Even if we keep our weight down, stay fit and active, practice wellness, get lots of sleep, and live each day to the fullest joy possible, the signs of aging will assert themselves. It’s the truth to be sucked up, my friends.

My sister is over 40 too. I overlook signs of aging upon her beautiful countenance without even trying. It matters not to me. If she sent me a photo of herself I wouldn’t gasp and delete it as fast as possible. I wouldn’t edit it heavily to improve it before considering whether or not save it. I’d see her as she is and feel my heart swell with tenderness for her. Wrinkles, puffs, sags, jags or bags–I’d love her and admire her regardless. But for Me? After 252 days of self-portraits I still can’t do it for Me?

Yes. I can. I can start again, starting today.  I can start with changing the conversation.

“I am tempted to delete this photo and start over with a better one. Because I look so flushed and dirty and wrinkly instead of sparkly and sunny. But I look so much like my sister in this picture. I can’t bear to throw it away.”

Nope. Not loving Me enough. Let’s try again.

“I will save this picture. It’s a good one. When I work hard at gardening and making fire I get flushed and dirty and sweaty. The sun lights up the wrinkles in my features and makes my forehead look spongy. And that’s okay. That’s how I look. In this light and at this angle I also look like my sister. We are both so beautiful. I won’t dare throw us away.”

252 days and it is still a practice and sometimes still one photo at a time.

–Kander Wildly

(wrinkled lady)

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