that photo you once hated

2017

My husband took this photo of me when we were out at a cafe last summer which is a rare feat. Not the cafe, which is a regular feature of our weekends now that the kids are aging out of our lives, but the photo. He rarely thinks of photography and so we have albums filled with family photos relatively absent of my existence, except for the annual  shot of me lighting the birthday cake for one of my boys.

“You look so pretty today,” he said, “Can I have your phone?”

I always believe him, but then I look in the mirror or at a photo and it’s just me. Nothing special. Or more often worse than I imagined or hoped for, like this one.

I really didn’t like this photo, and I still don’t like it, but you know what, I don’t mind it now like I did before, and it’s only been a year.

I take this as a good sign because typically it’s like a decade before I appreciate a photo that I really didn’t like at first.

Soon I may like myself almost right away.

Which brings me to this letter that I wrote as part of a writing assignment with the women who journey through the chakras with me. We had to write directly to ourselves which turns out is kind of hard…

Dear Kelly, 

(Boy, it’s hard to begin that way.)

Dear Kelly,

(So much more at stake.)

Dear Kelly,

(No place to hide.)

Dear Kelly,
Dear Kelly,
Dear Kelly,

For all the times that name was used as a curse,   
I am so sorry.
Let it go.

For all the times you’ve found yourself occupying the ugliness of another’s version of you,
I am so sorry.
Let it go.

For all the times you assumed that ugliness as a safe haven from feeling the deeper pain of loss and separation,
I am so sorry.
Let it go.

Let it go, Kelly,
Not because it doesn’t matter,
But because you do.

Precious.
Always.
Now.

~Kelly

I Am Who I Am

Kelly Salasin, January 2012This year, more than ever

I’ve been told who I am:

You are insulting, dishonest, judgmental…

You are self-absorbed, self-righteous, selfish…

You are a fraud.

Not since my childhood has my identity been so marred. With each mistake. Each failing. Each wrong.

Only now, I know the words reflect the pain

of the condemner;

as is also true when assigned beatific qualities.

Each an echo of another’s hopes and fears.

2012 has taken me under its wing

in a crash course of knowing who

I am,

transcending the urge to write the book, entitled:

Fuck You ALL,

while preparing for the same.

Tenderizing me

in my own Grace

so that I no longer need

to Please

or Agree

or Understand.

Kelly Salasin, April 2012

Other 2012 “courses” in “I am-ness”:

The Price of Blogging

The Fire of Love

Just Say No

The Loss of Innocence

a timeline of heartbreak