You Oughta Be in Pictures

Hey, there. You know who you are. You’re the one smiling for your selfie, trying to catch your best side. Don’t worry; you’re not alone. Taking your best shot has become almost as common as breathing. If Instagram is any indication, with nearly 300 million selfies posted, it seems people are hooked on the art of being frozen in time  — or at least in a photo frame.

In 1839, Robert Cornelius took what people consider to be the first selfie. To be truthful, though, since it was a daguerreotype, all bets are off. Today, we humans take almost a trillion photos a year and, of that number, it would be hard to guess how many are insta self-portraits. The fact that we’ve become a selfie ‘culture’ says as much about us as the world we live in. Selfies are also a pretty good indicator of how we define ourselves, especially in the eyes of others.

“For me the subject of the picture is more important than the picture.” Diana Arbus

Psychologists define ‘looking glass self’ as how we view ourselves more through the lens of others than who we really are. Considering the amount of thought we put into capturing our best angle or light, that kind of makes sense. But does the image we take in seconds really reap what we crave or increase our self-worth? I’m not so sure. I suspect a selfie story is as quicksilver as the mood it’s taken in. Continue reading

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Fa-la-la-la Humbug

Christmas-Carols-1960-billboard-650

I love Christmas. Tiny white lights. Magically delicious treats. The smell of fir branches and my oh-so-cool sentimental tree. I have a real soft spot for Yuletide giving and the yearnings for peace. I’m a regular holiday maven, except for one little glitch – Christmas carols. I know it’s heresy, kind of like not liking puppies or butterflies, but I’m just not a fan of schmaltzy holiday tunes. By the time New Year’s Eve rolls around, I’m kinda glad the last of those cheerful ditties have left the building. Does that make me a Scrooge wannabe? Nah. I just can’t get into the jingle bell groove. (And you thought I was all sweetness and light. Hah!)

When I was little, I sang about Rudolph’s blinking red nose with the best of them. My first grade holiday concert saw me chucking Styrofoam snowballs from the pockets of my angel costume, while singing Winter Wonderland. Not sure that thrilled an unsuspecting audience, who had to field those white awkward orbs. But then again, I was 6 and it’s hard to get mad at a tiny snow elf with a missing front tooth, even if she is throwing plastic snowballs at you.

Through the years I didn’t shirk my holiday singing duties but, somewhere along the way, my enthusiasm detoured on life’s winding highway. Maybe my antipathy toward carols unconsciously sprung from many childhood holidays that were less than holly jolly. Like the festive glittering tree, few see the little crawly things that hide under the branches. When my babies arrived, Christmas took on a whole sweet, new meaning. I saw the holiday through their eyes and wanted to make theirs a wonderful sugarplum world. And while life is never perfect, I baked cookies like a champ and decorated our tree big time (the popcorn string has a story all its own) accompanied by, yes, cheery Christmas carols. When, then, did those holiday tunes hit a sour note? Continue reading

When you . . . aren’t you.

1If you use your mind as a memory bank, the past will repeat itself in cycles. If your mind becomes pure attention, you will know everything that is worth knowing.   Sadhguru

Cancer had first dibs on my husband’s medical worries but losing brain power was always in the back of his mind. The spectre of inheriting his family Alzheimers gene haunted him. Determined to outsmart it, crossword puzzles became an obsession. I can still envision him concentrating, glasses tipped on his nose, until sleep took over —and the puzzle book fell on his face. He was convinced if he wrote, read and puzzled enough, he would outrun the brain stealing family curse.

An embolism cancelled that worry.

But, isn’t that always the way? We’re so busy walking with heads filled with worry about what could happen, that we never see the piano— until it drops onto our heads.

Man plans – God laughs.

Still, the idea of waking up one day and not being who we are, well, it scares the heck out of me. Yet, it’s all too real for many people. We go along, blissfully unaware until our particular piano plops directly on our dependable cerebellums. Our magical brains, those parts of us that makes us who we are, have a mind of its own. (no pun intended) They makes their own pacts with the devil without our consent. That center of our being mechanizes the way we think, the way we see the world, and pretty much defines who we are. Yet, if that center becomes skewed, transformed, who are we?

I got an up close and personal glimpse just last week — and it wasn’t pretty. Continue reading

Truly. Madly. Deeply.

 

valentines-day-heart-facebook-timeline-coverMr. Hearts and Flowers – boy, was that guy smooth. I was reminded of just how cool he was as I opened my Valentine storage box last week. Stuffed with silly stuffed animals and sparkly ‘I Love You’s”, the box was chock full of never-again memories. Last year was the first Valentine’s Day without my funny, sweet husband. I’m sure it comes as no surprise that even the idea of popping the lid to that box was more than I could handle.

This year I thought maybe the house could use some Valentine décor. Why you ask? I have no idea. I don’t feel one bit romantic, and I’m not wired for a Valentine’s Day pity party so being a touch masochistic is the only reason I can think of. Why else would I decorate for a holiday that’s clearly missing the one person who gave it true meaning for me? The grandkids – of course! Hey, who loves freaky but super cute stuffed monkeys, bobbleheads and a candy-heart carrying Minnie Mouse more? Continue reading

Flying Blind

Sixty-and-Me_How-to-Deal-with-Grief-740x416The night that changed everything — is still with me. No matter how I wish I could erase it, it’s part of me now. Less immediate, less traumatically intense these days; sometimes even in hiding but never too far away. As much as I want to securely seal every terrible moment behind bulletproof doors, I somehow also call them out.

Why? It certainly seems a bit masochistic not to work harder to erase what’s so devastating, right? Maybe I do it for the same reason we peel back a bandaid from a wound, telling ourselves we’ll just take a peek to see how it’s progressing. Right. We know that each time we peel it, pick at it, irritate it, it hurts all over again until a proper scar is permanent evidence of what happened.

Do I think that if I lose the throbbing pain of that night that I’d actually lose the vibrancy, the essence of the man himself? That I will not pay proper loving tribute to the history, the journey, or the ending of it all? Or could I really imagine that if the pictures in my head of his very last earthly night leave me —that he will too? That certainly sounds more than a little crazy, and I’m thinking a bit bizarre because even I know he gone. Continue reading

Picture this . . .

_DSC0203Photo junkie that I am, I have an embarrassingly h-u-u-ge amount of pictures on my computer— and I make no apologies. As I tell my kids and grands when they protest their gramma-razzi sneaking pictures, pictures are all we have in the end. With literally hundreds of pictures of my husband alone, I am pretty grateful for my addiction to photo opportunities.

No, I don’t pore over these pictures constantly. But there is always one that pops up in one way or another, and when it’s a shot of my husband, it sometimes does me in. The funny thing is that I don’t even have to look too closely to see so much more than the camera lens shows.  With just a glance at his face, his arm around me; mine around him and I can’t look away. I analyze, romanticize, tear up, melt down. Continue reading