Saturday, December 6, 2014

express your self(ie)

Reverb Prompt 7: Please post your favourite picture of yourself from 2014, self-portrait or otherwise! 

At some point, a light turned on. Perhaps inside me. Perhaps it's all the sunshine. It may have happened suddenly, or it may have been a process. All I know is that I'm at a point where I like photos of myself. Not just the one or two that I've always trotted out - me on the Cliffs of Moher, me on Moberly Ridge, the one in the blue ball gown - but actually many of the pictures I have been in of late. For much of 2014 I felt and looked grey, frumpy, worn-out, and as though I had given up, and then - light. It's an odd thing to like your own reflection. And really, a reflection is all we ever see of ourselves. 

This picture was taken today and reflects something else that has shifted. I am not, generally, a big fan of children. I find them demanding and exhausting - not mine, of course, but most of the ones I didn't give birth to. At the event I worked today they clung to me, and I enjoyed it. The little girl in my lap grabbed my hand anytime she saw me. Normally I would have been exasperated, wondered (with judgement) where her parents were, gently shaken her off, and gotten back to 'more important things.' 

Today when she and her sister found me and asked how they could get lunch (we were at a homeless shelter with about 400 people, and the lunch line was long, adult, and restless), I asked where their mom was. The little one said "no mom." I don't know if she meant today or always. I asked who was taking care of them, and the bigger sister - who may have been all of 8 - said "mi ah take care for she." 

Right then. Keep smiling, Shan. 

Together we skirted the long line-up of adults to get their lunch. That's the benefit of befriending an event organizer, I suppose. I sat with them on the ground out of the crowd and the sun, helped them open their bag juice, made sure they ate the coleslaw. We sat with the young boys in this picture, and a bigger girl who was probably 12. As it was happening - as I scooped the little one up on my hip to navigate the throng and felt her relax into me, I realised I am not who I was - frantic, absorbed in my worries, always doing and never being. And I like it. 

That's who is in this picture. I like her too. 

PS - the boys look a little sullen in this one because they've just been told off by the photographer for flipping the bird and throwing 'gang signs.' Snips and snails and rude gestures - that's what little boys are made of. :) 


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you, Lance. It's been a pretty remarkable adventure.

  2. You are definitely radiant in this image! Love the story behind this photo and the postscript about the sullen boys made me laugh =)

    1. They didn't even know what the signs meant - it was comical and sad.

  3. You are beautiful, shining, and look full of joy. Full of purpose. And happy. I want to hug and love all those babies.

    1. They were so amazed to have a big person just sit with them. And it was so easy to do so.

  4. You look radiant. Thank you for sharing all the complexity behind that glow. x


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