This weekend I worked up the courage to go through old photographs. I say worked up because one, the closet they were stored in had other accumulations that would have to be dealt with first and two, because photos and emotions and all kinds of experiences would be in there. I just knew it. I also knew that by putting it off I was keeping myself stuck and while my subconscious was ok with that, I was not. I wanted to finish the closet clean out I had done with the rest of the house and I so wanted to be able to look at pictures of a younger Howard, my husband who passed two years ago, with joy.
It’s so individual what happens when one is grieving. For myself; the clothes, collections or tools and oh my goodness are there tools, didn’t bring up sadness. I can change the house around and donate items easily because I know he isn’t in them but photos; oy vey. If you knew Howard, he always had a camera in hand and could regale you with every detail of every shoot he ever did whether it was nature, a wedding he was hired to do or an event for a family member. His memory was photographic too which was ironic because it didn’t apply to writing things down in the checkbook. So, his photos had so much of him in it that when I actually see a photo of him, it gets me big time.
There was a gift, as there often is, in screwing up my courage to go through the closet. I found photos I didn’t even know we had. They were obviously taken by someone else because he was in them and that was before selfie sticks. I was in them too. I don’t have a lot of pictures of us together because he didn’t like being in photos as much as he loved taking them. So, I felt like I hit a photo lottery and then the leaking from the eyes started and then I was so grateful. Here I now had a few more images of our life together and evidence of the chemistry we shared. Two smart asses who loved no other like we loved each other.
When I collected myself from the surprise, I took in the photos and started appreciating the journey we took together. Our image in one of the photos was one of pure joy. We had gone to a conference on photography in Las Vegas. He was in his element. What struck me next was how much of Vicki was in the picture. It’s not that I was hogging the spotlight, it was there really was more of me back then. My geographical footprint took up more acreage let’s just say. I have never been a slender gal. My genes do not run that way and I am very ok with it. It doesn’t mean I don’t apply myself to wear a smaller size in jeans but that isn’t because of my own self image as much as it is about knowing the mind, body, spirit connection and wanting it to work the best it can. I realized when I looked at that picture that I have always had a strong sense of self and that had nothing to do with how fluffy I was. I am blessed to say I never experienced any judgement on my size but I truly believe that is because I didn’t project out that there was something less of me because there was more of me.
My image of myself was my soul and heart first and my intelligence and witty humor next, the body, eh, that was just a vessel to get me from point a to point b.
Why am I bringing this up? Well, I had a story running around in my head that just wasn’t true. I have been sad because Howard encouraged me to be whatever I wanted to be and supported my working out and new-found love of exercise but didn’t get to be part of where I am now physically. Yes, I know he can see it but when your partner is your best friend, you want to share that you just did your fastest 5k and not only was it your fastest, you talked and coached someone almost the whole way. Talked AND ran…it’s been a goal. I had a story around him not getting the best me. Like I somehow jipped him by not pulling it together sooner. He would not be impressed with me wanting to lament on something that just isn’t true.
- So, I began to wonder what image do you have in your own mind about where you have been and where you are now?
- Does your own subconscious want to keep you bogged down in old stories that just aren’t true?
- Does it want to make up new ones just to keep you entertained and held back?
- How much time have you spent playing old images in your head instead of stepping into the life you are in, or could be in, now?
This has been a rather long winded way of saying, embrace who you’ve been, who you are and who you are becoming. That image on the inside of your head is the most important one ever. It determines where you will go in life but more importantly, how you will enjoy life.
I was able to rally pretty quickly because I have become so willing to hear the voices that live within me and counter them when the picture just doesn’t seem accurate. I can embrace the process and even laugh about the fact that dang, I married the skinny guy who loved me even at my fluffiest because he loved me, not my external image. From that I learned to love me in all stages of my development.
I wish the same for every person on the planet in whatever images that are playing in their minds that just are not true. If, like me, you have things to release, be it acreage, anger, frustration, regret, photos or goodness gracious all those socket sets your croaked partner bought, let them go, they aren’t you.
Change your image from the inside you gorgeous living photograph you.
p.s. Kodachrome moment below. At the Vegas event and a few months ago. As is the humor of the universe, I now teach Indoor Cycling and do coaching while we walk or hike and work through those messages. You can contact me at [email protected] for more info.