Sunday, April 10, 2011

Photo Op

This afternoon I met my critique partners Pamela Mason and Lindy Chaffin Start at Piedmont Park for a photo session with One Six Photography Studios. We did some group shots for a joint project we are working on and some individual shots for our personal use. I had a blast and enjoyed my small taste of what it might be like to be a model - the camera shutter snapping; the photographer speaking words of encouragement; onlookers staring, perhaps wondering who we are and why we are being photographed.

And to think I almost missed it. On Thursday, I tried to bow out of our scheduled session. After spending the entire week painting and dealing with all the work that surrounds it, I was feeling less than glamorous. My hair needed trimming and the color needed touching up; there was dried paint of various shades under my fingernails; I had no idea what to wear. I hated my face, hated myself for gaining ten pounds over the winter, and didn't want to deal with any of it. To further complicate matters, Casey has a Saturday class at GGC, and I couldn't figure out how we could make all the necessary connections with just one vehicle. Not only that, I am running out of time to put all the books and furniture back where they belong now that the piano studio is painted. I thought I really needed today to finish what I have started so I can go back to work on Monday.

But my wise friends didn't let me off the hook so easily. Your hair looks fine; wear jeans and a solid color top; we'll pick you up and bring you home, they said. So I sucked it up, made an early morning appointment with my hairdresser, Jody, put together an outfit that fits, and figured out how Casey and I could share the car. I scraped the paint off my hands, took a long, hot shower, got dressed, put on some make-up and drove to Atlanta.

It felt wonderful to get out.  It was a warm and sunny here today; the dogwoods and azaleas are in bloom, and the park was crowded with people.  A wedding took place right in front of us, next to a playground filled with happy children.  Everyone cheered when the couple was pronounced husband and wife.

It was a great day to be alive, to be out and about among friends old and new, to experience something I hadn't experienced before, to feel the sunshine on my face and the wind at my back.

And guess what? The unfinished work didn't go anywhere. When I got home, it was right here waiting for me.

Surprisingly, it seems like much less a big deal than it did before.

* * *

I just finished reading Women Food and God by Geneen Roth. It was very powerful, and I plan to discuss it at greater length in a future post. But as I struggled with my appearance this week, I was reminded of a few lines from the book, and I want to share them with you here.

Despite your argument with your physicality, the fact is that you are here and the 151,000 people who have died today are not. I heard a meditation years ago in which a teacher suggested that we think about what people who had recently died would give to be sitting where we were. To be sitting in any body, in any room. He said, "Think of what they would give to have just one more moment inside this physical form, these arms, these legs, this beating heart and no other." I gathered that the dead to whom he referred didn't really' care about the size of anyone's thighs. (pp. 122-123)

I may never win this war, but today I won the battle: I took my place among the living. Tomorrow I will put my piano studio back together.

And I will try to be kinder to myself.


Julee J. Adams said...

I'm glad you all had such a wonderful, life-afirming day!

A local friend got my "mammy" towel. It's a kitchen towel I found at my parents' house before it was torn down that has the vaguely racist images of a black woman, probably from the '40s or '50s. She wanted it to look at to remind herself how good she has it, when she's feeling a little too sorry for herself.

Celebrate life, get up out of the house into the sunshine with your friends. Wear the nice outfit and put on your good earrings for no reason. Life is too short and people get tired of hearing from ingrateful wretches. Thanks, Pam and congrats! You are a star.

Pam Asberry said...

Julee, sometimes it's good to have a tangible reminder of our good fortune - like the "mammy" towel you describe. I try not to spend too much time wallowing in self-pity, but I do tend to be punishing with myself when it comes to work, and I think that's something I need to look at more closely. Anyway, as I said in my post, today I took care of myself. And it felt great.