February's In the Picture self-portrait project theme is "Write On!" We are encouraged to incorporate written words into our self-portraits. There is also a weekend "love note" challenge going on over at 52 Photos, so I decided to incorporate the two.
The inspiration for this love note is a song by Gary Go that simultaneously sat me on my behind and lifted me to my feet the first time I heard it a couple of years ago.
I have to admit, it is a bit Stuart Smalley-ish, but at the time I so needed to hear it. The particular verse that hooked me goes like this...
"And all your ammunition’s gone
Run out of fuel to carry on
You don’t know what you wanna do
Cause what you want does not want you
If what you want does not want you
And you’ve got no pull to pull you through
Say “I am”
Say “I am”
Say “I am wonderful"
I confess, I am feeling the need for that song today as well.
With all the homecoming hoopla and anticipation behind me, I am feeling a bit low on fuel to pull me through. And yet, is time to get back to get back into the "normal" routine of daily life.
Except there is no normal routine to go back to.
You see, a week or so before I left town to see my son home from Afghanistan, my relationship of four years came to an end. There hasn't been time to grieve, or to even absorb the information fully. All my emotional energy has been directed towards my son's return and I did a pretty good job of not letting my sadness cast a pall on the joyfulness of the occasion.
In fact, I haven't even told most of my family yet. I guess now they know. And, I need to be clear on one thing now that I'm out with it - I don't want to talk about it.
My official (and true) statement is that no one did anyone wrong, there wasn't any major blow up or blow out, and I would like to believe that there is a lot of love still there. Maybe this isn't the end of the story, but for now I've got to accept what is.
And, that's all I'm going to say about that. I hope everyone can respect my wishes in that regard.
But, this is pretty huge and a part of me feels like I need to acknowledge it, even if I don't want to talk about it or dwell on the details publically. There is little doubt that this period of grieving will influence my photography, writing and self-exploration, so the context is significant.
Context is the reason that you won't find me getting all ooey-gooey on the topic of love this month, even though everyone else will be. Valentines day has always been an iffy holiday for me anyway. There have been a few "red letter" days worthy of fond remembrance; but, the majority of them have ranged from minor disappointment to the most traumatic day of my life. I won't go into the gorey details. Suffice it to say, I'm not exaggerating the trauma and as such I have issues with this holiday to begin with.
I'm not looking forward to this one being fresh on the heels of a break-up either.
It is within this context that I continue to move forward with my short term plans set in motion for this year, even though my long term future looks vastly different than it did even a month ago. In addition to sorting through all the emotions, there is now the necessity of establishing a new routine. Routine isn't even the right word. My whole lifestyle has changed and it almost seems to have happened while I was on vacation, even though that isn't the way it went down at all.
Four years is a significant amount of time and our day-to-day lives, families, and social circles were so closely intertwined that the loss is profound and on multiple levels. Now that it is all unraveling, I expect to feel untethered and lost for a little while before I find my feet again. I don't say that to elicit sympathy. It is just the process and as such I may not always be at my best when I write here.
I will try to avoid self-pity as I believe that to be one of the most destructive an emotions that there is. Lord knows, I've had enough personal experience with self pity to know that it is a dead end street. But, I'm human and heart broken to boot. I intend to be as graceful through the process as possible, but it may not always be pretty.
My original intention for this prompt was to create a little valentine for myself utilizing all my scrabookie blingie stuff, glitter and glue that I've collected for my one little word project. After an hour or so of trying, all I made was a mess. The experience came dangerously close to convincing me I had no creative talent whatsoever.
So I gave up and just wrote those simple words on a white piece of card stock with a sharpie. The photograph isn't even that great, although I got a little help from Shadowhouse Creations with a texture to give it some interest.
This love note to myself is more appropriate for the time anyway. I need to believe that I am more than just "a wonderful woman, but..." As I have said before, I don't consider myself necessarily low on self esteem, but in times such as these a woman can't help but wonder If I'm So Wonderful, Why Am I Still Single?
Ultimately, that question is something that I must consider carefully over the days and weeks ahead. I am the common denominator in all my relationships and I know this. If there is something I could change in myself that would lead to a better outcome in my romantic life, I desire greatly to get to the root of it.
Part of the solution, I suspect is that I must the one who must put the period (or even better the exclamation point) after that word wonderful and stand unapologetically by the statement - not in a conceited way, but an empowered one.
As the song goes, I gotta look myself in the eye and say...