The Mom Who Wasn’t There
I'm not proud to admit this, but I had an epic meltdown not too long ago. While I'm ashamed of the way that I acted, it felt liberating to let go of everything I'd been holding inside for so long. My sadness had reached a level I'd never felt before and even though I did my best to calmly explain the way I was feeling to my husband Jay, he wasn't fully comprehending what I was trying to say which only made me madder.
I'm not going to make excuses for my actions because I was raised better than the way that I behaved. I'm a grown woman who should have known enough to check herself before things hit the fan and splattered all over, but I didn't.
So, what caused my tantrum? I went off the deep end because my husband didn't take a photo of me. I know that sounds stupidly silly and shallow, but hear me out. I almost never take the time to do my hair and makeup or put on a decent outfit. Usually, I crawl out of bed at 3 a.m. which gives me just enough time to brush my teeth, wash my face, throw my hair, that I washed the night before, in a bun and slip into yoga pants and a hoodie before literally rushing out the door to get to work by 4 a.m. My husband and I work opposite schedules, so I'm juggling a whole mess of things solo every day. I've constantly got so many irons in the fire that I average about four hours of sleep a night and if I woke up earlier to get dressed up, I'd be pushing an average of three hours of sleep a night. I just can't do that. Functioning on four hours is tough enough.
On the day of my fit, I'd actually taken the time to get dressed. I did my makeup, my hair was flawless, and I was wearing real people clothes. Clothes that matched. And cute shoes; I can't forget to mention that I was wearing something other than sneakers. I felt good about myself, which I rarely do these days. I gained a lot of weight during my pregnancy and never lost it and I've been struggling with being too critical of myself.
It's been a really long time since I felt beautiful, but that day, I did. We were headed to a surprise party for my in-laws; a party that I planned virtually on my own. I asked Jay to make sure to take some photos of me at the party so that I could include them in the video I would be making. He said he would. He didn't.
Not only did Jay not take a single photo with me in it, not even a candid crowd shot, but not another person at the party took a photo that has me in it. I didn't even make it into the background of a photo. Actually, there is one photo of that day that I'm in. It's a selfie. I had to ask Jay to take it of our little family in our hotel room before the party.
My whole meltdown was trivial and childish, but for years, I've been the one to take all the photos. I'm the family picture taker. The one who documents memories. For years I've been so sad that people always hand me the camera and ask me to take photos, but they never say, "Hey, would you mind taking the camera so Traci can get in a picture?" Never. My years of sadness and feelings of inadequacy reached the boiling point that day and my soul poured forth. In a mixture of crying and screaming, I asked Jay, "When I die, will John even remember what I looked like and not from a selfie angle?" "Will John think I was a loner who never went to anyone's wedding, baby shower, birthday party?" "Will anyone ever explain to him that nobody ever thinks to include me in photos?"
Jay didn't know what to say and that's probably a good thing because I'm sure I would have launched right into him if I felt like whatever he was saying was just to pacify me. At that moment, I didn't want lip service, I wanted action. I wanted him, my husband, to think to include me in things, not to have to be asked.
I didn't grow up in a family where photos were a big deal and that means I have very few pictures from my birth to young adulthood. I freely admit that I'm obsessed with taking photos, but I'm a very visual person. When I look at pictures, they help me remember things. I can smell, and hear, and even feel the very same things I did the day the photographs were taken.
Megan Zander wrote an incredible article for the website Scary Mommy and put into writing EVERY little thing I've ever felt about photos but didn't know how to put into words. Please, read what Megan says about the importance of snapping pictures. And then, just do it.
[via Scary Mommy]