The picture I use for my avatar is cropped. Something had to be removed in order for me to use it. The original shows a little girl propped up on my shoulders as we are getting ready to do the annual begging for candy, Halloween. It’s not my daughter, but my ex’s niece who was 3 at the time. Her father took the picture and sent it to me within seconds for my collection of kid related stuff.
When I look at myself in a picture I still see the guy who was 250 pounds and rocking the man-fro (dark curly hair, an inherited trait!) That person was about as insecure as anyone else you know. Most likely the same person you see when you look in the mirror at times. Confidence came later in life for me, but there are times when I still see that weird male staring back at me.
Years after graduating college I once told someone that I was thankful they loved me for the person I was back then. For years I had been told my younger brother was “The Cute One” in our litter. Someone once wrote an ode to him in the school newspaper when we were kids. Nothing like walking into school and having your friends jump on your back for something you never knew about or had a single ounce of control over. Most of it was just teasing, I knew it then as I know it now. But it bothered me. Human nature I presume.
Right now I can see my reflection from the mirror in the hospital room which I currently occupy. A not great Friday afternoon turned into a weekend adventure. (Getting out of a hospital over a weekend is impossible. Add in the holiday, and maybe later today I get to go home?)
Too many people who have seen me over the past few months haven’t recognized me. Some is the weight, some probably the fact that I don’t walk as tall or as fast anymore. It’s not that I’ve changed over the past year, but over decades of having been away from people who knew me years ago. It’s not until they hear the voice that they spin around.
Since stopping most of the medicine, the weight has returned to my still underweight 150 pounds. The hair is still cut so close no one would know the difference between Chemo time and just a buzz cut. The family I live with now says that most of the change is in the eyes. They just aren’t the same, even if the color remains the blue that I was once told was lovely. My niece tells me to wear my contacts rather than glasses because it doesn’t hide my emotions. She’s rather smart for 15!
When I saw the title of this prompt, the guy from not so long ago might have jumped on it and really torn into himself. That guilt and terror I carry still at times sits on the surface of my face as well as my sleeve. I wish I didn’t see myself though someone else’s words, but they have stuck with me throughout all of this. I still blame myself for too much, even things I didn’t know about or wasn’t around for. Still carrying the title of “Sin-Eater” for others.
The funny thing about that avatar photo, I still have it stored in my cloud drive. I like having some reminder of the person I once was. Life changes for no reason, on sunny days without a second of warning. At least that’s what The Disney Channel said the other day!