I have written before about the stress that I put upon myself regarding public photographs. BFF tells me that I need to learn to roll with the tide, and accept the changes that we all go through.
Up until now, I have had a great deal of trouble doing this. Somehow, when I look in the mirror, I see a stranger. Cognitive Dissonance reigns supreme. Who is that person? Faintly, I see passing traces of my mother… my sister… but I don’t see me.
Frozen in time, who I am exists in that abyss in my mind. Resulting from my increasing desire for a do-over. My life paused as I became the care-give for my mother and my kids… My role has increased in complexity as the care recipients have presented me with problems of increasing difficulty. Aging parent, with increasing health issues… then death… then challenges to what was left of her estate by bill collectors and siblings wanting a piece of remaining jewels. Childhood problems turned into adult problems… health scares and growing pains. The honesty I taught them to observe turned into confessions of pot use, and unmarried sex. The mask that I once wore, turned into one from a Broadway show or movie; it carried the results of stress… wrinkles and stress lines. Who is that person in the mirror? I am ready to un-pause my own life. I want to live some of those opportunities and chances that have passed me by as I was experiencing marriages and divorce and abuse and being a mom and daughter.
I really like this new job. I feel as though I have earned my place. What I love most of all, is that I feel appreciated, rather than just a warm, replaceable body to do a mindless job. Then, pow, I was smacked in the face with that damn work photo. The internet needs to know the team. The Client needs to know who they are working with. They want to “meet us”, we were told.
I was told to report to the front, where some overly hot millennial snapped my picture on the iPhone.
Yikes! Do I look like that?
Take two came after the finished photo was sent to me via email. “What do you think?”, the email said. Ummm… well, can we try again? Thinking that potentially, he looked at the photo, and thought damn, I thought she was younger. She really looks like crap in that picture.
Take two… better, but WHO THE ACTUAL FUCK IS THAT IN MY PICTURE??? I must be that elusive vampire who does not appear in photos, and that middle aged person, carrying a few extra pounds is my stand in. Can I fire her? She certainly does not look like me.
We settle on take 3.
Back to the cubicle I call my desk. Cubicles are nice, in that they allow for your own personal space. These are nice and rather large. What they lack, however, is what all cubicles lack- privacy.
When I returned there, to lick my wounds over my conflicting view of my youthful self vs my aging self, I could hear a conversation from one of the administrative staff. She is a very pretty and young, yoga instructor. I say little more than “hi” and “bye” to her. There is just nothing in common to inspire more conversation.
As I strain to hear the conversation, I hear, yep… I got my period last night…. We were crushed. We have been trying for so long… I am pretty sure I could hear her begin to cry, so I closed off my nosy self and I returned to work.
BFF, once again, you are right. I have been there. I have my children… my beautiful, dancing, singing, occasionally pot smoking, laughing extensions of myself who are my family. I have held those little hands and I have fed those little tummies. I hope to be a grandmother one day ( though no time soon, puleeze).
The mask I wear is aging, but it has lived and will continue to do so. It’s all about appreciation. I need to do better reminding myself of this. I love ya, BFF.