selfie love


As if this blog wasn’t self-indulgent enough, I have been participating in a 365 day photo project: the #365feministselfie project.

The what?

Why?

Go ahead and roll your eyes. I know you want to.

You feel better now?

Good.

Talking about one’s sense of self love and self worth, Tamryn Hall recently shared, “It was not a magazine that formed my opinion of myself, it was what my mother told me…“. Ms Hall’s statement struck a very loud chord with me. How true this is. Children learn what they live. She went on recalling all the positive words her mother, her father, her extended family have always said to her about her and how that has always been with her with every success and setback in her life.

When I started writing in this blog, I began because I needed a safe place to put my thoughts, my fears and frustration. My plate was overloaded raising my five children including a very angry teen pushing hard and breaking through as many boundaries as possible and a medically fragile toddler whose weekdays were busy with appointments with specialists, physical therapy, occupational therapy, feeding therapy. My brother had recently died and honestly, it seemed like I was the only member of my family who was mourning him. So much was rattling around in my head that I had to have a place to put it and here is where most of it went. Through the years this has been a place where I could write about what ever I wanted to write about…my thoughts, my fears, my tears, my joys, my opinions…and they all mattered here.

Pretty much my entire life, even now, I have been told what is wrong with me…how I talk, how I walk, the colors in my wardrobe, I’m too skinny, I’m getting fat, my career choice, my parenting choices, my opinions, my beliefs, what I read, what I watch, what I listen to, my thoughts…and on and on and on and on….and it STILL goes on because as I approach my 52nd birthday I still need the correction criticism like I am still a child. It’s hard, very hard to recall ever hearing “I’m proud of you for being you”.

Children learn what they live.

But as this blog grew through the years into more than 3,500 entries, I have evolved and have grown to like me a lot. I like the parent that I am. I like the NICU RN that I am and I wouldn’t settle for anything less. My thoughts, my beliefs and my opinions are indeed my own and they are most definitely just as important as anyone’s…maybe more so to me because they are mine. Ten years of navel-gazing writing has exorcised a lot of demons and damage. Of course, it is a work in progress.

Which brings me to my own #365feministselfie. Pretty indulgent and narcissistic of me, isn’t it? Oh, and definitely attention seeking too.

Enough!

Attention is power.

Of course, the self-portrait is an easy target for charges of self-involvement, but, in a visual culture, the selfie quickly and easily shows, not tells, how you’re feeling, where you are, what you’re doing.

In our age of social networking, the selfie is the new way to look someone right in the eye and say, “Hello, this is me.”

Hello, this is me.

I’m discovering that in this exercise.

I’ve never liked nor respected too much the image that reflected back in the mirror at me. I’ve never really seen what my darling husband has seen and still sees…I recently overheard him say that he has a hot wife. I don’t know if I will ever see what he sees or what my kids see; but I am starting to see things in these selfies that I do like…my curves, my edges and my perfect imperfections.

Self-indulgent.

Of course.

Still it is a very important part of my exercise in self-love.

Self-love is about taking care of yourself inside and out. It’s about reminding yourself that even on your worst hair day with a red zit glowing at  the top of your nose, your heart deserves to smile. A smiling heart and a passionate life will create a beauty within that transcends the standards of most. Only the weak and superficial among us will be unable to see the smile that shines from within because they haven’t earned the privilege to see into our souls.

Added bonus is the kids will have a few pictures of me for my memorial someday.

And if the daily blog ruminations and selfies aren’t enough to cluck one’s tongue over…

It’s my birthday month!

stopping the motion


Six years ago, Jodie was but a blur as I tried to capture her dancing  her very first solo for the first time.

Apparently I took over 300 pictures at that competition team preview trying to capture her. As the years literally flew by it seemed that trying to still her dancing was impossible. It has been…most of the time. Still, sometimes I get lucky.

Of course I have spent the last seven dance competition seasons watching her every move, every step, every turn, every leap.

Slowly, but surely, I am getting better capturing this whirling dervish that is my dancing daughter.

Then again, sometimes I just get lucky. Actually most of the time because this time at this preview I took only a little over 1,000 pictures.

18 years ago this week, my worst nightmare as a NICU nurse & mom began. Only 26 weeks pregnant with my 4th baby my water broke and I found myself in active labor, dilated 3 centimeters. I remember my boss would not tell me which neo was on that night when she came to visit me…probably because I surely would have freaked out even more because sometimes knowledge is just too much. But Jodie was not meant to be born in February much too soon. So many dear friends made 99 days of complete bedrest possible for me, my darling husband and our children and Jodie was born fullterm..absolutely miraculous. The love, the prayers and the daily visits, meals, childcare, housecleaning and everything else made this all possible. I kind of fogged up the viewfinder of my camera tonight taking pictures of this beautiful, talented daughter of mine as I got a little teary thinking of so many people who made this possible. What Jodie does on stage is partly because of the kindness, the love, and the help of so many. I’m forever grateful.

You know who you are.

Thank you!

Wherever this may take her, you certainly can take some credit, point at her on the stage or the screen or at any child in tap shoes whom she has taught and tell anyone and everyone that you helped make that perpetual motion possible.

Meanwhile…

there is another…

It’s going to be a fun season, my last season as a dance mom.

her turn


From the time she was two until shortly after her fourth birthday, I frequently “lost” my darling daughter, Jodie. You know what I mean, how you turn your head for one second or allow one of your other children to distract you with something trivial like tying their shoes or extricating them from a jump rope tied to the swing-set or breaking up the twelfth knock down drag out fight between at least two of your darling little circus clowns and that little one is suddenly GONE, like NO WHERE TO BE FOUND! No, she wasn’t the only one of my children who would become lost; she was just the one that seemed to become misplaced ALL THE TIME.

Yes, I can hear you clucking your tongues and imagine you folding your arms tightly across your chest as you shake your head disapprovingly over my obviously poor parenting skills…because you have never turned around to see that your little darling is not by your side in a crowded department store or at a Saturday afternoon soccer tournament. Of course your child has never, ever wandered off scaring you half to death and giving you even more gray hair.

Of course!

I believe you.

But, it has happened to me…more often than I want to admit…mostly thanks to my sweet, adorable Jodie Grace Wynonna.

Payback, well, payback can be a bitch she discovered this weekend while we walked around San Francisco.

No, I was not lost. I knew exactly where I was. I was on Powell Street at the Cable Car Turnaround taking pictures because…

they were all lined up and the lighting was absolutely perfect after the afternoon shower. Of course I had to stop and take pictures!

Of course!

Because!

Right?!

Jodie, on the other hand, seemed to completely disagree. “OH MY GAWD! MOM!! You can NOT just wander off like that! I turn around and you were GONE! Do you realize how much you scared me!!!

No clue, my darling daughter. I have absolutely no clue.

She is not amused with the truth that this just might be a small payback for the years she did this to me…all the time.

Not at all.

My punishment? A trip to her Mother Ship, the Forever 21 Flagship store.

Whatever, little girl! I think I shall further torture you by purchasing these sweet shoes and wearing them EVERYWHERE!!!