The first thing my eyes draw to when I see this gorgeous photo are the rolls around my belly, my thighs, my boobs. I can’t help it. Even with my new found (supposed!) body confidence and “who gives a fuck attitude?” I can’t help but gaze at myself with a critical, judging eye. It is almost 42 years of practice contained in that first gaze – hone in on the flaws, seek out what you don’t like and then focus, focus, focus… It’s a hard habit to break.
But break it I will.
Because my second, third and fourth looks see so much more.
I see a happy family. A family who loves and cares for each other. I see a moment of joy, affection and tenderness captured perfectly. I see fun and spontaneity. I see a father adoring his daughter and a mother sneaking a kiss that otherwise might not be given. I see connection and togetherness. I see a vibrant, happy little girl feeling safe and loved and celebrated.
I was actually dreading this photo shoot and almost even cancelled it. The day leading up to it had been a kind of hell. Major meltdowns and tantrums, frustrations boiling over, feelings of inadequacy as a parent – why couldn’t I make her happy? Why was she so angry? I said to Dave as we were trying to get dressed and ready in the midst of screaming and tears, “I don’t even want this photo shoot, all it’s going to show is an unhappy, pissed off family!”.
But, I took a deep breath, threw on the first clothes I came across, let Miss Sweet Pea choose clothes from the dirty pile – and walked out the door.
Look what I would have missed if I hadn’t pushed through?? A moment in time that reminds me there is deep, beautiful love and happiness in my life amongst the loud, chaotic and turbulent mess it often feels like. I’m not going to let a few rolls make me miss that.
I was hoping – like so many other devastated and heartbroken individuals – to wake up this morning and find out that the horrifying US election result had been nothing but an awful nightmare. Something that my subconscious had created as a way of helping me to prepare for a worst case scenario, zombie apocalypse kind of event.
Unfortunately, this was not the case and today my TV screen and phone only ram home the message that for the next four years it will be President Trump…
I, like many others I’m sure, was not truly prepared for this outcome. I honestly believed that sanity and hope would prevail and that American’s would choose, while not necessarily the best candidate, certainly the better. While at work yesterday my colleagues and I were eagerly watching the numbers come in – Hilary was a sure thing, wasn’t she?? As the day went on it was clear that she was not. While I am somewhat comforted by the fact that Clinton won the popular vote – in pure numbers more people voted for her than for Trump – it does nothing to soothe the burn of the final result and the fact that this supposedly hate-filled, destructive, egotistical bigot will be the ruler of the free world for the next four years.
And four years is a long time – it is the entire length of time that my daughter has been alive on this planet so far – and by god that has felt like a million years at times!! But I am hoping, that like the experience of first time parenting, the days may feel long but the years will go by fast…
There are many memes and posts floating around social media today – offering hope for those of us who feel disheartened and defeated. I’m clicking on these and saving them – I will go back to them soon but for now I think I just need to feel sad, angry and disappointed. This result has only added to the selfish, individual political tone that has seemed to dominate this year – Brexit, the results in the Australian elections where once again extreme right wing views have been given a loud voice in our community and the ongoing cruel treatment and neglect of some of the most vulnerable groups in our society.
It is hard at the moment, as a social worker, parent and woman to find any hope in all of this. So I’m just going to take some time – time to hide away and lick my wounds, time to grieve for the state of the world as I see it. But I’ll be back. There’s no other choice.