i scoured my photos today looking for a picture that represents the person i see when i look in the mirror. i wasn’t entirely successful, because the me i see doesn’t really exist. the me i see is a combination of the body from four years ago (before the stomach flap that seems to be a separate entity from the rest of me) with the face from two years ago (before the crow’s feet) with the brain of today (after the ppd but before the dementia i’m almost positive will be my ultimate demise). that me is a mythical creature, kind of like a centaur…or something prettier, maybe a mermaid.
i found a couple pictures that i really like, but i don’t have a scanner so i was forced to use one that was in my hard drive. but i couldn’t choose just one. because really, i’m so much more complicated than that. aren’t we all?
this is how i see myself, first and foremost:
i’ve probably posted this picture before, and that should show you how infrequently sei and i take pictures together. but this has to be one of my favorite pictures of the two of us. my mom took it when we were at a family reunion in outer banks about five years ago, before we had our boys. it’s not sei’s favorite because we’re kissing and he thinks girls have cooties.
this picture represents the side of me that i take out on special occasions, though i wish it could be me all the time. truth is, i just don’t have energy to be this alexis all day, every day. this was the alexis that had no children, who only had to be responsible for herself and her husband. she’s completely absorbed with the task at hand, which is being in love, and that’s all. the main reason i love this picture is sei’s expression. his eyes are closed, but he looks like he’s smiling. he doesn’t smile all that much–he is a naturally reserved and cautious person, and has a killer poker face. people always mistake him for being angry or mean, but he’s quite the opposite. and in this picture his personality is captured perfectly.
not only that, but the picture itself is a perfect storm: we were on a beautiful beach at sunset, and the light was soft and golden. we were both tan and in good shape, my hair was decent, and sei doesn’t look high (for some reason, he looks stoned in about 75% of the pictures we’ve taken together). there’s nothing awkward or forced about it, it’s just as though my mom happened upon an intimate moment and snapped a photo. for those reasons, i’ll treasure this image for the rest of my life.
i was looking through all the pictures i have of sei and me since we’ve had kids, and we’re facing each other in maybe one or two of them. there’s none of the passion, of the romance in this picture. but that’s ok, because our priorities have changed. most of our recent pictures are taken at places like disneyland, or the playground, or at the 4th of july parade–places we take our kids. for the most part, we’ve put aside our own needs to make space in our lives for our babies, and for the next few years, being there for our children will be the glue that holds our marriage together. i’m sure our photos will represent that, and in the future i’ll be able to look back on them and remember that we were devoted to our children.
this is the other picture i found:
this is the alexis that exists in the everyday: undereye circles, unbrushed hair, bare face, workout clothes, two kids, and a smile. i take my boys everywhere with me: the gym, the library, the grocery store, the post office, just like most of you. they are an extension of myself, and so are in a lot of my photos recent years.
i complain a lot about my life, i realize this. i don’t mean to, but it seems that making lemons out of lemonade is a condition of humanity. but this picture ain’t so bad–if this is what my life looks like on even the most mundane of days, i guess i’m doing all right. i just need to let the old alexis go and make friends with the new one.
that’s not to say the new alexis doesn’t want the passion and romance; i totally do. but i’m willing to accept that when you have kids, passion doesn’t happen in a perfect setting. there might be cracker crumbs on the floor instead of sand under my feet; i’ll probably be lit by a nightlight rather than a fiery sun setting over the ocean; my hair will probably have peanut butter in it; and there’s a hell of a good chance that i’ll be folding clothes. all that doesn’t make the romance any less romantic–i’ll just be less inclined to post a picture of it on my blog.
*i wrote this post as a part of mama kat’s writer’s workshop, then i forgot to publish it on the right day. whoops.*