what i see now…

November 16, 2012

“Oh God, please tell me I am cuter than that right? right?!” …this is my standard sentence after looking at a picture of myself.

There are no full length mirrors in my house for a reason. …and I have always felt 100% more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it. It’s hard to be seen, it’s difficult to allow someone else to see you, and maybe the most challenging to see yourself.

Claim vanity or blame a completely screwed up view of beauty in the world, or maybe it is just the heinous double chin…but I am getting closer to letting it go. You see, every time we are with our friends Dan and Ashley, I just want to take pictures of them- they are dear and there is a newness about them (and their love) I feel should be documented ALL THE TIME. I see their hearts and tenderness every time we are together.

And always, it never fails, Ashley always insists that she take pictures of us. …and part of me always dreads it…and yet something inside of me (maybe it just starts in a place of wanting to be polite) decides I will just let her do it. I am anticipating seeing my belly fat, my wrinkles, a full face…because my eye has been trained to see all that is wrong with me.

…but something weird and magical happens every time she takes our picture….I see all those things, they are totally still there and part of me still cringes at first… but I have started to see something else too.

I see:

eyes that have seen all of that partner, all of the darkness and light, and are still full of love

years of struggle and joy in togetherness

a super bad hair growing experiment

people that needed that break so bad and are full of relief

friends who are eating way too much buffalo chicken dip

tired faces from finding our way through

people that have a boatload of kids and need more time alone

all the reasons we dig each other

a splash of courage to not care in the moment and may have total picture regret to put it all out there in the morning

the beauty of still not knowing how it all works

…and part of me started to let go and wonder if…

maybe your worst side is actually your best side

maybe your moment of vulnerability captured is your secret power

maybe what really is IS more beautiful

maybe how we feel and love each other is the sweeter memory anyway

maybe we don’t have to wait 30 years to be kind to our 35 year old self

maybe if we all let ourselves be seen, we may all feel a helluva lot better about ourselves and the world

maybe our lives are more beautiful than we know

…and yes, my ass was inspired to go running the next day to take better care of myself and Jorge promptly cut his hair that night…and I still feel so locked up in the ways I see myself but I also feel this tiny bit of new freedom…to let it be, and that the moments of love and goodness and doubt and ugly and triumph and family should trump it all.

I want more than anything when I am old, to remember and see how we tried to love. …double chin and all.

14 Responses to “what i see now…”

  1. Marnie G Says:


  2. Brenda Says:

    YOU together are so darned beautiful. I know what you mean about the critic that pushes everything and everyone aside to point out the yuck…but honestly…I saw these pictures and just melted. Melted because you are both beautiful alone, but everytime I see pictures of you together, I think…I want THAT!!! I love that you can see it now too…or at least pieces of what we see…these are incredibly transparent, lovely documentation of a beautiful love.

  3. Bettina S. Says:

    I see love and joy in abundance! You both are beautiful- these pictures really made me smile (and reminded me to get more pictures taken of me and my sweetie). Thank you for sharing, as always!

  4. Sarah Says:

    Always all ways wonderful. Xo

  5. I think you are incredibly beautiful.

  6. TM Mitchell Says:

    As always…..I love it!

  7. cchelton Says:

    You spoke to me profoundly. There are few pictures of me in 56
    years of living. Just…I mean just in the last year has what you said slowly spoke to me..thank you…let’s SEE where this will go.

  8. Your love and beauty are so obvious to us – the univested observers… Please continue to let it “all” go – you are serving no one by playing small. Your greatness is so apparent. Your children need to see a woman who loves herself so they can absorb and live that message for themselves. We (and that hunky man there in those photos) all see your beauty. Swallow it. Drink it. Accept it.

  9. amy Says:

    a beautiful lesson for us all…

  10. Jennifer Bailey Says:

    I read on your blog once that you can be all the things…pissed off and grateful, joyous and scared…that there’s room for all of it-the dark and the light. Your words helped me so much then and now. So I offer them back to you in the hopes they resonate. And maybe as an act of self-kindness you can make room for all of it-your outsides and insides. That includes any muffin tops and under eye circles, as well as your open bright smiles and laugh lines. These photos of you and Jorge are bursting with love and light. How is that anything other than beautiful?

  11. Kristen Says:

    Sometimes my husband and sons make me feel more beautiful than I really am. I like the way I see myself through their eyes.

    • Cindy Says:

      You are beautiful inside and out! But it is your inner beauty that makes you glow! I truly say this with my heart… you are an amazing person Patience!

  12. Amelia Says:

    always hard to see in ourselves what we readily see in others…when I catch myself being not-so-wonderful to myself, I ask myself what would I do if one of my girlfriends was talking that way about herself…and then try to see it that way

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