I first met Linda at one of our epic Flickr meetups in NYC back in 2011 (gosh, was it that long ago?!) I was drawn to her warm personality and her beautiful work and I’ve followed her ever since. About a month ago Linda wrote a post on her Facebook page that resonated with me so I asked her if she would expand on the thoughts in that post and be a guest here at Mortal Muses today. Linda, you’re an inspiration, and thank you for opening up and sharing this with us here today. LOVE the new tattoo!
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This past year has been a very interesting one for me—it has forced me to look at myself harder than I ever have before and to really learn things about myself that I never knew were possible. I had written a bit about this on Facebook and Christy asked me if I would write about it here and I am honoured and happy to do so.
For a variety of reasons best shared with a couple of glasses of a really good dry, red wine and a killer chocolate cake, I found myself at a big crossroads in my life and I took some time to sort things through. I got some great help and joined a program for depressed people that gave me some fabulous life tools to shift the way I perceived things, dealt with problems and interacted with others, and, most importantly, to make a major change in how I viewed myself. As I am sure you all know, all of this change takes time and practice but I am happy to say that when I start to hear my old tapes I am also hearing a “wait a minute.”
When I wrote on Facebook, I began by saying that what I was about to write was something that I wished someone had told me when I was younger—that just because someone is older does not mean they are “done” and by that I mean, that they know themselves and are very comfortable in their own skin. And it may be true for some people but I am beginning to believe, from my own experience and that of people I know, that it aint over until it’s over—we are always learning about ourselves and, hopefully, we get to that place were we love ourselves and can be good to ourselves. I am on this path. I doubt I will ever be done, but I am so much better off than I have ever been in my life. I also believe that there have been some good mentors in my life that I was not ready to hear—but I hear them now!!! And I am thankful for them!! It is always a good thing for us to be encouraging to others—you never know when those kind, helpful words will hit them and, perhaps, make all the difference!
So I have these tapes that play in my head—old, long, hurtful and mean tapes. And when I am faced with some problems, those are the first things I hear—the tapes that say I am stupid, that I can’t learn, that I just ought to quit, that I am just not good enough. I fight this daily. But lately there is a quiet voice that tells me to wait, think about this. It is a kind and loving voice, the kind of voice I would use with someone I love. And, guess what? I really am starting to love me!
What got that Facebook post started was this: I had been reading about Holly, Kirstin and Nikki’s experience with trying out Replichrome II: Slide Film here on Mortal Muses. In reading about their experience – my first reaction – “I don’t know how to do that. I SHOULD know how to do that. I am stupid. Here are yet another set of presets that I can’t use because I still don’t know how to use Lightroom!” This was said to myself in a very mean tone. A tone that was so unnecessary and unkind. Then, so very quickly I thought “you don’t know how to do that NOW, you CAN learn how to do that if you want.” Very loving words to MYSELF!!! Wow, that is progress! I don’t know how to use Lightroom partly because I am afraid of failure. Because deep inside me is that kid who keeps listening to those tapes and believes them. I have to wake up that kid!
So I spoke to myself like I mattered, like I am enough and I was so happy that I had to write that post to share with anyone who wanted to listen, anyone who might be broken, that it doesn’t have to stay the same, we don’t have to continue to berate ourselves and we don’t have to think that just because we are a certain age that we are “done.” We can turn it around! It’s never too late to be a good friend to yourself!
Christy also asked me to include some pictures and I wasn’t sure what I was going to attach except I knew I wanted to include my picture of my new tattoo which I got while I was going through this upheaval. I decided I would do a photo shoot of me because I have, in the last few years, come to terms with what I look like. This is me. I have been heavier and I am losing weight still but I am “ample.” It’s me. And I am just fine. It’s my goofy face, my jiggly arms, my silly grin. It’s me. And me is good.
And, if I could, I would like to end on this note:
Be kind to yourself, be patient, you will find your answers. Love who you are right now—even if right now isn’t a place you want to be—you will always be you—start to appreciate yourself! You will feel so much better! And do not compare yourself to others. You are on your own special road. Be well my fellow travelers and know your path is a good one.
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Thanks again Linda!