Band of Brothers

I’m 29 and my hair is still dark brown.  When I look in the mirror, I don’t even notice the smile lines around my eyes.  I’m pregnant for the second time and a rogue stretch mark has dared to creep above my belly button.

I’m carrying my second son and as his two year old older brother said at the single ultrasound we had during this pregnancy,  “We havin a boy, we not havin a girl. And we all gonna be happy.”

And on a sunny, super warm day in January,  when Henry decided to join us, we were oh, so happy.   We were thrilled.

I spent the first month of Henry’s life nestled in bed with him.  We snuggled and bonded and I’ll always remember it being pure bliss.  Little did I know that during his toddler years my mom would be diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer and my one on one time with Henry would be greatly compromised.  She passed away just before his fourth birthday and the arrival of his little brother, Davis. It was a very sad time for us in the midst of great joy.

There was a lot going on in our lives then and the days, they blur.  I see Goldfish crackers in car seats and couch cushions. I see Legos strewn about, GI Joe action figures, costume boxes and juice boxes.  I see some of the very best days of my life.

There are soccer games every Saturday where Henry plays defense like it’s American football and even though he gets a trophy at the end of every season, his sweet little band of soccer brothers (and sisters) never wins a single game.  

The birthday parties, almost all of them Army themed, are sometimes held in our backyard, or our garage, or better yet at Camp Mabry where if you make a small donation to the museum, you can have your party there.  You eat your cake in a little conference room on cold, basic upholstered chairs. Henry loves it each and every time we bring him here.

And then the blur turns to chaos.  As the years pass, I’m failing at my marriage and making bad decisions and am so confused.  My marriage falls apart and divorce follows. Through it all, Henry and his band of blood brothers soldier on.

We settle into our new normal and move forward.  Henry never blames or asks the hard questions that I know he has wondered about.  I’m sure he’s constructed his own truth and I sincerely hope that it’s one that he feels is honorable and does him justice.  He deserves it.

There are moments, that flicker like frames in an old home movie, where I see Henry laying across my bed, not looking at me but talking non stop about school and friends and sometimes even girls.  Before we know it, an hour or more has slipped by and inside I am literally floating because my quiet, stoic son has just talked to me for longer than a sentence or two.

Now I see Henry walking through the house in his cowboy boots, jeans and royal blue Anderson High school cross country shirt.  When I ask him a question, he has to take the earbuds out of his ear to hear what I’ve said. While never rude, his answer is as succinct as possible to convey his message and nothing more.  He’s always been a boy of few words, so that when he does speak, you know it really means something. He heads out to the game room, where he joins his band of virtual brothers to play video games into the night.   When they’re done playing, he’s the one who makes sure the lights are dimmed and the doors are locked.

I’m 48 and my hair is brown by design these days.   It’s demi colored and fading fast to expose the stark silver underneath, which I have recently decided to let take over.   It’s just hair, I tell myself, and if I hate it, I can color it again. When I look in the mirror, the wrinkles now are the first thing I see and although I  would like Botox, I just never get around to it. My body looks it’s age and feels it too.

Today, my second son has just texted that he signed his contract to enlist in the Army.  And just like that, after all the days we’ve had together, this day is here. I text back “Congratulations!” as the tears slide down my face.  The moment is so bittersweet it stings.

Does his life, the one that seems to have flown by in the blink of my eye, feel fast to him?  Or does he feel like he’s waited forever for this defining moment, the fulfillment of his dream?How did we get here?

 I’m 29 still. He smells like breastmilk and Dreft. Or I’m 35 and I’m helping him put on his soldier costume.  Maybe I’m 38 and he’s tackling scrawny kids in soccer jerseys while I cringe on the sidelines. Wait, I’m 45 and he’s talking to me and telling me about how hard girls are to understand.   

But no.

I’m 48 and he’s leaving.  And when he leaves it will be far away.  And when he leaves again, it will be to even farther away places I’ve never been and will never go.  I want to think of this as an adventure, but this isn’t a costume box and these aren’t video games.

This time, he will be with his new band of brothers.  The ones who have been a part of who he is from the very beginning.  

 

Blind Spots

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and tiptoe to the window that looks out to our front yard.  I carefully part the blinds and check to see if his truck is sitting by the curb. It almost always is right there where it’s supposed to be and when I see it, I can creep back to bed and rest better.

In a weeks time, that truck, and the sweet boy who drives it, will be gone.  And this time, it won’t matter if I get up in the night to peek through the blinds because it will be a long time before they return.

This boy, my middle son, was born with a love for all things Army.  When he was two, he loved motorcycles and wore a pair of dirt bike pajamas and black rubber boots from Walmart almost every single day for a year straight.   Uniforms mattered.

Soon after, camouflage became his favorite attire.  For a while, we could get away with just a camo hat, but anytime he had the chance to dress up in full gear, he grabbed it.  Halloweens were easy for him.  Soldier again.   Over time, he amassed a collection of military gear that now fills multiple foot lockers that are just about ready for storage.

 

I’ve known this day was coming, but did my best to live in a state of denial.  His older brother is attending The University of Texas and his best friend/cousin is now at Texas A&M.  Even his girlfriend is in College Station, so up until last week I held out hope that he, too, might decide that staying in state and getting some sort of degree (business?) would suit him.

But I couldn’t have been more blind or more wrong.   

Instead, last week while his brothers and friends were in school and his parents were at work,  he visited the recruiter’s office, scheduled his ASVAB test, drove to San Marcos and aced the hell out of it.

He did so well that he qualified for any job in the Army he wanted and that job happens to be as a member of the 82nd Airborne Infantry.   A last minute opening came up and it looks like my red Ford driving, lifelong soldier at heart gets to follow his dreams. He leaves in less than two weeks.  

My heart is an absolute mess.  I’m so proud of him. I’ve never seen anyone ever, in my almost half a century of living, follow their dreams like this child is.  It’s awe inspiring and humbling. And yet, I’m completely undone. As a borderline pacifist, my fear and worry and anxiety is off the charts.  I want my son to stay safe and I want to be able to know his whereabouts as often as other moms whose kids went off to college can expect to.

But being an Army mom doesn’t mean that’s what we’ve signed up for.

What I think I’ve learned so far is that being an Army mom means that we don’t say ‘goodbye’.  We say “see you later”. We steel ourselves for going weeks, possibly months at a time, without hearing from the same kid we talked to, texted or at the very least creeped on their Snapchat on a daily, sometimes hourly basis.   I’ve learned that while I will “lose” my child in the here and now, I will, in an instant, gain an immense new family and will have many sons and daughters.

I’ve learned that while people I see regularly may not understand, there are moms across the country who I may never meet, but who will understand in an instant the things I can’t say out loud.  

I’m so scared.  I’m so worried. And I’m sad for me.   I worry about deployment. I worry about war.  I worry about combat. I worry about landmines.  I worry about hazing. I worry about equipment failure.  I worry about our government leaders. I worry about drugs and alcohol.  I worry about PTSD. It’s exhausting.

I’m jealous of my sister and my best friend who sent their beautiful children to schools that we can all drive to within half a day.   I hate this feeling, but if I didn’t acknowledge it, I’d be dishonest.

Henry joining the Army just changes everything.  Everything. And I can’t even begin to know all the ways our lives will actually change.

But, soon I will become an Army mom.  I will fly the American flag more often than just on the 4th of July.  I will wear red on Fridays to keep all those deployed on the forefront on my mind.  I will plan and carefully send care packages and letters written from home. I will proudly talk about my solider without jeopardizing his safety or privacy.  I will become an Army mom, sister, friend. I will pray like I’ve never prayed before.

But, for two more weeks…I will sneak into the bathroom and lift those blinds.  When the truck is there, I will catch the sob in my throat and breathe a sigh of relief and release.  

In An Instant

As I eased into the tub tonight, I looked out the half open blinds hugging the window.  The sky blazed a searing, orange pink fire that stirred my heart.  I wanted to dash outside, reach into the sky and burn the tips of my fingers on the embers in the distance.

But I was stuck.  I was immersed in a steaming tub of  Dr. Teal’s “detoxify and energize” (which always worries me when it’s relatively close to bedtime) and the thought of my naked self running into the yard to have a moment with the sun’s goodbye… just didn’t…well, you know.

Instead, I texted R.  If I couldn’t see it, maybe he could at least enjoy it.  But by the time my wet fingers were able to type out a quick text, I glanced up and the sky was a pale pink.  I put my phone down and looked up again and saw a lavender sky seeping through the window.  My heart sank.

In an instant, my sky fire was gone.

It seems that is the theme of my weekend.

The eldest son came home yesterday.  When he is with us, the happiness exudes.   From all of us.  He brings joy where ever he goes.  Although he towers over me and essentially lives his own life, when he is home, I see the boy who I sat and built Legos with, the boy who drove his Cozy Coupe all over the house, the boy who welcomed me to motherhood.  His visit was so brief.  A flicker.  A flash.   But, I helped move some new (used) furniture into his little studio down by campus, stood on tip-toe to kiss his scruffy cheek (where did that come from?) and waved a fast and short goodbye.  Lingering is never good or helpful.

In an instant, my Lego boy was gone.

This past week was a ‘boys’ week.  That means that we have all our boys from Sunday to Sunday.  And while it’s quite a bit more hectic;  the messes pile up higher and the milk mysteriously disappears in copious amounts, it also means my brood is near.  I can worry less, smile more, find more to bitch about while also finding more to savor.   It’s a wild week, but it is THE epitome of ‘my cup runneth over’.    Sunday evening became Wednesday morning which turned into Friday night and then Sunday noon.

In an instant, my cup was empty and boy week was gone.

After drying off from the detoxifying, energizing, sky blazing bath, I walked to my bedside table.  I reached puckered fingers down to grab my moisturizer and staring up at me from amongst the piles of bracelets and receipts and lip gloss was my mom.

 

 

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An old, tattered, black and white picture of my beautiful mom.  There she was,timeless and amazing.  My heart squeezed for the umpteenth time this night.   How could one picture take me back to all the longing, all the missing, all the questions and hopes I still hold for someone who is gone?

When I reached down to pick up the photograph, my fingers burned a hot pink, sun fire, blazing burn.   The weekend had come full circle.

And in an instant, she was with me.  Here.  Now.  Always.

 

 

 

 

 

But What You Don’t Know

DSC_1245His sarcasm bites.  It’s sexy, stinging and you have to stay on your toes to be ready. His wit is dry, irreverent, and to the point. If you make the mistake of exposing your weakness, watch out-the joke’s on you.

But what you don’t know is that if you can holdyour own, bite back, and give as good as you get, he accepts you as an equal. The laughter binds, bonds and builds a friendship that grows stronger every day. The twinkle in his eyes when you spar with him, full on, is the best measure of success.

His eyes pierce you. It’s both disarming and electrifying at once. His mouth never lifts into a smile, but he doesn’t frown either. Reading his thoughts is near impossible and he isn’t likely to give you any hints. If you’re looking for someone who shows his highs and lows, he isn’t that guy.

But what you don’t know is that those eyes see everything. Every curve of your face, every tendril of hair that flies free, every thought that flickers behind blue flecked eyes and wrinkled brow. He’s not a roller coaster of emotion, dipping in and out of the abyss. He’s more a steady locomotive, rambling and rustling along the tracks, down the path, ever forward.

He is confident, cocky, a taker. His hands are quick and steady and sure. Whether he’s at work on his laptop, preparing a gourmet meal in the kitchen, or building or creating something in the garage, he moves with a certainty that is almost disarming. When he sees what he needs to get the job done, he grabs. When he knows the next move, he pushes, shoves, often with a strength that surprises.

But what you don’t know is that those strong, fast hands are soft and gentle too. He will endlessly scratch a back, rub weary shoulders, and caress a face with a tenderness that damn near breaks your heart. Softly, slowly, his fingertips dance up a thigh, across the curve of a hip, resting on the rise and fall of a chest that is bursting at the seams with a love whose depths are unmeasurable.

He’s predictable in so many ways. He loves all things Apple and anything gadgety. He keeps multiple packs of gum in his car and will rarely turn down anything sweet to eat. He swishes his mouth with Biotene for approximately 5 minutes every night before bed and always sleeps in socks. He loves to compete and if he wins, all the better. He does what he says he’s going to do and will do anything for his kids. He is an amazing father and friend. His love for his family is paramount.

But what you don’t know is that he appreciates uncertainty too. He jumped into a love unknown, cannonball style, with flair and flourish and yes, a bit of floundering. He tolerates a girl who’s more than half crazy and wholly unlike him in many ways. Despite his routine nature, he surprises with unpredictable actions all the time. He makes sacrifices for others that are astounding. Without complaint, he has given up many life luxuries that most treat as necessities. Those kids he will do anything for happen to include three that aren’t even his own. And that a family he loves dearly has grown, as if overnight, exponentially.

He’s not a man of many words. If you tell him you love him first, there’s a good chance he might not say it back. Not because he doesn’t feel it, but more because he doesn’t want to have to say it just because you did. If you’re looking for love letters or poems scrawled in chicken scratch on Hallmark cards, you will search long and hard. It’s just not his style.

But what you don’t know is that when he speaks, he speaks the truth. He only says what he means and he rarely repeats himself. You have to listen intently, latch onto every compliment, every sentiment and lock it away into the confines of your heart. What you also don’t know is in those moments when he can’t find the words he wants, he pulls you in and holds you tight. So tight there’s no space between where he ends and you begin. He’s always the last to let go and somewhere, deep inside, you know he’s just told you more with that embrace than any sentence ever spoken.

The Birthday Dance

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Once upon a time there was a little girl.  A 5 year old who desperately wanted to take ballet but  attended one class and couldn’t do it anymore because she was too afraid. I recall the black leotard and thick, pink tights with the red stain of fingernail polish dotting the thigh. I was so excited to have a real ballerina costume.  I remember the mirror that spanned the entire studio wall and the golden sheen of the wooden floor as our ballet shoes slid across the surface.  I can see the reflection of the little girl with a slick ponytail but ragged feelings.  She wanted desperately to stay and dance, but was too scared.

I lasted one class.

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Day In and Day Out

 

 

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When I was a little girl, I remember being shy.  I didn’t like meeting new people and the thought of having to look an adult in the eyes to speak was downright daunting.  But I don’t recall being scared of many things.  I’d try anything at least once and I always loved a good dare.

It wasn’t until I was an adult, or rather a new mother, that I realized how afraid terrified I actually am of the dark.

When my firstborn was just days old, I would find myself getting more and more unsettled as nighttime approached.   No matter how idyllic our day, how organized, how calm, as the afternoon slid with the sun into evening, I became restless and anxious.  What if he cries tonight?  What if he spikes a fever?  What if we are awake for hours?  The what ifs and maybes and oh no’s consumed me.   The only person I ever told was my husband.  I was miserable for months.  I would envision horrible things happening and it all seemed insurmountable simply because the sun wasn’t out.  Morning would dawn and I’d feel fine.

Over time, as the nights thankfully did not live up to my exaggerated worries, I learned to breathe a bit deeper and rest a bit calmer.  That first baby and the two that followed  were healthy and happy and we managed to get through many years of nights that were a blessed mixture of vomit, fevers, and sweaty nightmares alongside snuggles, kisses and sweet dreams.

Somehow, the anxiety about night slipped away for a long, restful time.  I learned to consider day and night as equals, neither one being more frightening or beautiful than the other.

And then, the firstborn became a teenager with a driver’s license and friends that beckoned, seemingly always in the evenings.  In an instant, my fear of the dark returned.  The first night he drove away, by himself in his 1997 Mustang, I crumbled to the floor in a heap of tears and panic.  As usual, time and a healthy dose of perspective and controlled breathing helped me get through those early days of driving, late nights, and teenage life. Again, I settled into a manageable level of fear, worry, resolve and quiet peace.

Now he is away at college and it’s happening all over again.

Except this time, I realize that while I’m still afraid of the dark, it has nothing to do with the sun having set or the amount of stars in the sky.

I know now that the darkness that terrifies me is the unknown.  It’s the things I cannot see, the truths I cannot know, the thoughts I am not privy to.    I am petrified and held captive by the anxiety I have about the people I love coming into harm’s way or experiencing pain and anguish that I can’t help alleviate.

Darkness is the helplessness I feel when I realize that there are things about the people I love that they can’t tell me or don’t know how to share.  It’s the realization that our lives continue to move forward and I can’t undo hurts and harms and fears that came about years ago and have grown into their own over time.

My darkness is all the fears I have about the uncertainty of life and the unpredictable nature of things.   It’s the worry I harbor that my darkness has caused darkness.  An exhausting cycle it is.

As I write this openly for the first time ever, I feel ashamed that I don’t have more peace about life.  I am sad that I allow my darkness to seep into the bright, beautiful and shining parts of my heart.  I am regretful that I allow my darkness to grip me with such  force, squeezing the good thoughts and  amazing truths out of my strong mind.

I don’t want to be this way.  I don’t want to worry and feel like I can’t breathe.  I want my loved ones to be able to go and grow and live their own lives in their own ways.  And yet, the thought of that chokes me with fear and that really just feels terrible.

Glennon Melton Doyle  of Momastery  says “We can do hard things.”   And I know we can.  I know I can.  I know I can fight my darkness and win.  I know that my loved ones will live the lives they’re destined and meant to live.  I know that in the end, our light will prevail.  It is time I looked up, into the eyes of my adult self, and worked damn hard to believe this.  Day in and day out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The View From Above

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I want to say that she is with me always, but that wouldn’t be true.   While I never forget she’s gone, I do forget to think about her and remembering what my days were like while she was here get harder and harder to bring forth.

Amy looks so much like her that I can catch a glimpse of her when pictures are posted on Facebook or Instagram.   When I see pennies on the ground, I feel certain they’re from her dropped from Heaven, and lately…and this one is weird…my feet look more and more like hers.  Crazy, but I’ll take what I can get.

One of the best ways that my mom stayed with me and in my thoughts was through one of her longest and dearest friends, Virginia Crawford.  It never failed that when I’d write about my mom, Virginia would add some thoughtful comment about me or my writing, but more importantly, about my mom.

You see, Virginia was one of my most vocal, sharing, uplifting memories of my mom.  She often sent me messages, telling me things about my mom that I could have never known if she hadn’t shared.

Here are a few of my favorites, in no particular order…

She almost idealized you. She thought you were very strong, very bright and creative.-this was her telling me what my mom thought of me.

We do what we have to do to survive. Good luck, Macy. I think you are very brave.

Just read the blog; you are and always have been more than enough. True beauty.

The first thing Charles said when he came in last night was, “I saw Macy.”. He knew that was the best message he could bring home to me. So glad Charles and Carrie got to see you and visit with you. Love, Virginia C!

I think you look fierce…

Happy birthday, newlywed, birthday girl. I remember you as a little baby and your mom checking on you just to see that you were still there. And I remember she gave you licks off a DQ cone when you were less than two months old. I never gave my babies ice cream, but it didn’t bother you one little bit.

These are but a few.   I know there are more dispersed throughout our Facebook history, I just haven’t found them yet tonight.  As I read through these though,  I am realizing how wonderful she was to me, about me.  She made me feel so loved.

She loved me enough to spank me when I disobeyed her (I was about three and I threw a toy across her living room after she told me not to) and she loved me enough to share memories about my mom.  I see now how much she loved just me.  Just as I was.

I am in shock and disbelief that she is now gone too.  My heart hurts.  No, it bleeds tonight. My mind cannot accept this.  Tonight I say goodbye to an interesting, funny, thoughtful, intelligent, and loving woman.  One of the best I’ve ever known.

Virginia, I’ll miss you and your reassuring, nurturing words.  I’ll miss your memories of my mom.  I have to believe that you two are sitting together, laughing again, sending love down to me from above.

 

 

Windows and Perspectacles

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It’s been One. Of. Those days.  You know the kind where the rug is pulled from beneath your feet?  Never mind that I was wearing my amazing Chanel two tone flats (snagged for less than $10 from a thrift store).   The ensuing pull and consequent fall were unexpected and definitely unwanted.

I lost my job today.   I was laid off.  Let go.  Asked to work one more day and then no more (if I expect to be paid for it).  I’m pretty certain they’d let me keep showing up, they just don’t have any money to pay me.

You see, I was a tutor at a local elementary school and my job was THE best.  I started my mornings working with one of the strongest teachers I’ve ever been blessed to know.  It was a fourth grade class and that age group is my most favorite.  These kids are so special.  It was a little slice of Heaven over on the east side of Austin and I was happy to drive to work everyday to help them learn.  After that, my morning routine changed frequently, but lately, I’d been working with a class of twenty 5th graders who still want to learn and like to feel loved.  After teaching them, I’d end my day teaching math to a group of the most enthusiastic and energetic third graders you’ve ever seen.  They are adorable.  A-dor-able.

Unfortunately, the funds granted for our tutoring positions ran out.  Today, several of my colleagues were told that tomorrow is our last day.  I sat in the meeting with a calm demeanor.  I clocked out and went to tell my fourth grader teacher that I was done after this week and then I got into my car and cried all the way home.

This job was perfect for me.  I was able to work enough hours a week to make money to pay the bills I need to pay.  I also had time off to help grow my new photography business, JCK Images.   I also got to work with kids without having to be THE main one in charge (thank you to all the teachers I worked with).

But after tomorrow, it’s gone.  I’m officially unemployed and unsure and unable to see where I am headed.

I keep thinking of two women who impact my life, Maria from The Sound of Music and Glennon Melton Doyle from Momastery.   Maria says in one of my most favorite movies that  “When the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window.”   My door has been closed, but I am eager to find my window, however small, wherever placed.    Glennon says many things that resonate with me, but the main saying tonight has to do with donning my ‘perspectacles’ and seeing things with my right eyes.

I’m sad.  I’m dejected.  I honestly wonder when things in my life will get a bit easier.  I have created some hardships for myself over the past several years, but a lot of what I’ve lived through was not any fault or doing by me.  I’m tired and I’m ready for a bit of coasting and reprieve from the insomnia inducing, anxiety producing, stressful life I face daily.

But when I think about the windows that might open and I put on my nerdy  cute and smart perspectacles, I know in my heart of hearts that my life is good.  I will be okay.  My kids will eat well next month and I won’t have to sell my car.  We are healthy and we are happy together.  If that is what we have,  then we are rich.

BUT…if you know of anyone hiring a creative, hardworking photographer, writer, teacher, window seeking, perspectacle wearing person, PLEASE let me know!

 

 

Enough

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Yesterday I had the bright idea to let Richard try to take some pictures of me so I’d have something to put on my website or a new profile pic or both.  I was feeling a bit sassy after losing a few pounds and thought, “Why not?”

With my new Laura Mercier foundation and some fresh curls in my hair, we set out for a park I’d been wanting to scout for photo shoots.  The day was gorgeous and we essentially had the area to ourselves.  My self consciousness would be minimized.  Slightly.

Awkwardly, I posed.  Every lesson I’d ever learned from fashion magazines about how to turn my shoulders or tilt my head or turn to my good side flooded my mind.  The harder I tried to look like a natural, the more stilted and goofy I became.  It seems that as soon as a camera is placed in front of me, I forget how to smile.  It’s pretty much Macy’s Law.  Just like the law that states only when I’m looking my absolute, pajamas all day worst will I see 14 people I know in the grocery store.

We plodded through more poses and finally I asked Richard to let me take pictures of him.  Admittedly, I feel far more comfortable behind the lens than in front.

When we finally got home and I was able to view the images we’d shot, I was initially shocked.   First of all, I didn’t look near as thin as I’ve been feeling lately.  I had double chins that had double chins.   My gray roots lined my scalp like a ribbon of highway.  And the wrinkles.  Can anyone say Oil of O-M-G!   Mark Twain says “Wrinkles merely indicate where smiles have been,” and if that is the case, I might very well be the happiest person alive.

Mostly, I just saw how much older I’m looking these days.

I quickly began editing the pictures.  Smudge this wrinkle, blend this chin, cover the gray.  The results were impressive, but there was this gnawing feeling of it not being the true me in the image.

One of my last blogs was about encouraging moms to let themselves be photographed, to be IN the pictures instead of on the other side of the camera, to let go of their insecurities and fears of not being enough.  And yet here I was, modifying my version of what I’d preached and adjusting things to fit my agenda.  It was as if I was saying to myself…”Yes, you SHOULD be in the pictures, but ONLY if you look young enough, thin enough, and pretty enough.”

The thing is, try as I might, I can’t remember when JUST BEING ME was enough.  I recall the day in Kindergarten when our class was taking a field trip to say the Pledge of Allegiance on the local tv station.  All of the other little girls showed up in dresses with pig tails and braids while I forgot and wore jeans, a ratty t shirt and my hair plain and straight.  Just being me that day didn’t feel so good.  Unfortunately, there are countless days and months and decades where that feeling just permeated my soul.

And it’s tiring.

I’m tired of being tired.  I’m tired of worrying and always falling short.  The imaginary bar I’ve set for myself is just that.  Imaginary.

I’m not saying I am giving up on looking healthy and nice, but what I do plan to do is go easy on myself and stop being my worst critic.  I have lived and am living quite the life.  It’s full of twists and turns, many uphill climbs and exhilarating drops.  But it’s the only life I have here and I don’t want to spend it hating on myself for this reason or that.

I’ll still be awkward in front of the camera and my smile will probably do that weird one side up, one side down thing.  The wrinkles are there for now (Botox is just so tempting) and the gray is going to get covered for a few more years, but as long as I feel like I’m enough, that’s going to be good enough for me.  So, the pictures will go untouched.  I left them as they were, wrinkles, chins and gray.

Being okay with just being me is a never ending job.  I know.  But I’m willing to try.