when i learned about burn camps, years ago, i wanted to volunteer. i wanted to help burn victims see their own beauty using photography + art + journaling.
but i knew that unless (until) i could see the beauty in my own scars, i wasn’t (wouldn’t be) ready. since i didn’t know how to do this, i set the dream, and the wish (to find beauty in myself) aside.
something has finally shifted.
whenever i see myself in the mirror, i am inexplicably delighted.
whenever i see myself in the mirror, a loving affirmation (you are amazing! you are beautiful! look at you!) tumbles out of my mouth.
i’m not fixated on my round belly.
i’m not agonizing over the warts on my hands or the chips in my front teeth.
i’m not waving at myself in the mirror to see if my underarms flap.
i’m wearing shirts + dresses that reveal my scars without a second thought.
it’s not that i don’t see the belly or the warts or the chips or the underarms or the scars.
it’s that i finally see me in the mirror, all of me, and i am filled with wonder.
atlas stayed with my parents while i was in rhode island.
the last time i left him with my parents, they taught him to sleep through the night. (i was beyond grateful.) this time, they taught him to eat his kibble without the addition of gravy.
it is clear there is a weak link in our relationship, and that weak link is me.
he’s just so cute!
i caught a glimpse of red + orange through the trees while taking atlas out for his night-time potty run. though i was pajama-clad – preparing to write about something else entirely – i ran back inside for my camera and drove the three miles to the lake.
lake superior was eggplant in color; waves crashed on the rocky shore; and a streak of color delineated the horizon.
i watched in silent wonderment.
so, with love, i offer this – my view of the unfolding of the night.
the thing that tripped me up the most, in the early days of finding my own style, was color. color was a complete mystery. how did one know whether one color went with another color? it’s a wonder i wore anything other than blue jeans.
naturally, i was always amazed by the jcrew catalog because they paired the most unlikely seeming (to me) colors together. so much color! and it looked so good.
i just noticed that these coneflowers are pink and orange, and it reminded me of those catalogs. their stylists must draw some of their inspiration from flowers. (i suppose it could be the other way around, but i doubt that coneflowers receive catalogs.)
i need to remember this. in truth, color is still somewhat of a mystery to me; however, i no longer care what other people think about my style choices, so i do manage to wear it.
“The eyes of the future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time. They are kneeling with hands clasped that we might act with restraint, that we might leave room for the life that is destined to come. To protect what is wild is to protect what is gentle. Perhaps the wilderness we fear is the pause between our own heartbeats, the silent space that says we live only by grace. Wilderness lives by this same grace. Wild mercy is in our hands.”
~ Terry Tempest Williams, Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place
p.s. the blog will be quiet for a week, as my sister helen and i are in rhode island, meeting our new twin nephews. happy happy happy.
last monday evening, my sister and pup and i went to lily pond – a public boat launch on the houghton canal – to cool off before bed. (when the temperature is high, 10pm is the perfect time for a swim.)
it was so fun jumping off the dock into the canal. i felt like a little kid. atlas deigned to join us, but he did walk partway down the boat ramp afterward to get a drink of water.
(i don’t know why it’s called lily pond. maybe it’s near a lily pond? back in the day, whenever my cousins came to town, they’d swim at lily pond. i never joined them. i thought it was a lily pond and i preferred the lake. clearly i missed out!)
everything reaches toward the light.
atlas says: i will drink from the lake, but i will not swim in it. just because i am now willing to let my belly touch the water does not mean that i have changed my mind about this. i am resolved.
elizabeth says: on monday, a kind stranger held atlas’s leash while i swam. she said that when i went under, he had a very furrowed brow. he did not, however, seem inclined to come in after me. still, i remain hopeful.