I look at pictures of me a year ago and am amazed at how YOUNG I look. I just look softer yet firmer, less wrinkled, less dry. In the past year, my body did go through a lot of trauma and in my personal life, there has been a lot of tragedy and stress, but I wonder if my reflection isn’t telling the truth. Yes, I am older, but maybe I look older because I feel older. I started this year gung-ho about being 40 but now I’m starting to feel it and I may be expressing that in my face, and how I look at my face.
Last year when I did Whole30 I put the app Day One on my phone. Each day I would journal what I ate, and often take pictures of the meals (because really, ain’t no one wanna see your meal on Instagram or Facebook). I also started adding photos after a long walk or a workout, sharing the sweat, the flushed cheeks, and hopefully/eventually the slimming of my selfie.
Life happened, and I went off Whole30, and my walks and workouts became more infrequent. I think that’s a lot to do with me feeling as though I look old and I’m working on that, but in the mean time I am me right now and there’s no benefit to me lamenting my reflection.
I could throw money at it. I’ve done it before many many times. Instead of changing my diet or increasing my sleep, I’ll buy a bunch of new creams, masks, and scrubs and get a whole new arsenal of cosmetics. Instead of getting a haircut, I’ll spend a pretty penny in the hair aisle at CVS and do a late-night Natural Instincts dye job to my tresses. But I know from experience these are temporary fixes that only eat away the contents of my wallet.
A couple months ago, Karl made this lovely meal and after we watched TV, him sitting in his chair, me sitting on the floor in front of him, he rubbing my shoulders and me rubbing his feet. I felt very relaxed, very secure, very loved. While he stayed downstairs to wait for Cindy to come back inside, I went upstairs to get ready for bed. Maybe it was the glass of Pinot Noir with dinner, but I looked at my reflection and was really happy with what I saw. Sure I have wrinkles, sure my hair needs a cut and color touch-up, and sure most of my makeup had worn away but I think I looked pretty darn hot! I whipped out my phone and took a selfie. I didn’t fix my hair or face, didn’t clean up the towels hanging in the background, I took what I saw right that instant. One picture, closed the camera, and turned off the phone. I didn’t want to look at the picture, I felt the magic may be gone.
The next morning I looked at the picture. And first glance I did what I always do – I noticed the double chin, the bags under the eyes, the limp hair. But I forced myself to close my eyes and look at it again with fresh non-judgmental eyes and I really liked what I saw.
This was no selfie I’d share on Instagram. It’s not perfectly polished, I don’t look especially fabulous, and all those towels and hair appliances in the background won’t bring me a bunch of likes or comments. But that’s not the point; I think sharing in an attempt to gain approval or likes would ruin it. This was a picture to remind me that I am beautiful and I am wonderful RIGHT NOW.
I have continued this little project. Each time I feel good, think I look good, think I look sexy, feel proud of something I have accomplished I take a selfie and put it in a folder on my phone. Seeing that folder fill up with pictures is a great reminder of the positive. Sure I’m 40, and sometimes I feel I look more like 60, especially after a rough day at the office finished off by a child who knows how to push all my buttons. Sure I’m fat, and I am getting more wrinkles, and my skin is not dewy like it was when I was 25. But I am pretty fantastic. I like the person I see in the mirror, her appearance, and who she is inside. And liking that is NOT wrong, it’s not being self-absorbed, it’s not being a narcissist.
Taking the pictures is like a visual gratitude journal, a reminder for when things are low that they won’t always be like that. To have the pictures just for me makes them more special. I’m not trying to look attractive for others, I’m not trying to win approval, I’m just living in the moment with myself. And these pictures remind me that I like myself.
Do you have any rituals, projects, or habits you do to inspire, motive, or just remind yourself of the positive? I’d love to read about them!