A few weeks ago I discovered the “archive” button on Instagram. Archiving has allowed me to keep photos, but privately - As in, they no longer appear on my feed. (Y’all probably already know this, but I like I said, I just discovered the feature.) I went through the nearly 3000 photos I’d posted over the last 8/9 years, and sent a good chunk to the archives. This was actually pretty enjoyable. (And while I’m not totally done, I’ve done a good initial comb through.)
I was inadvertently sent into self reflection whilst visiting memory lane. I saw patterns in my photos from the happy times; same for the sad ones.
Revisiting my old self reiterated some concerns I’ve had: As in, it was glaringly obvious that I had taken a back seat (photographically speaking) to my family. This was something I initially felt proud of (see the post: http://poseythompson.com/blog/2018/6/6/squad-goals ) But - I realized it’s actually kind of problematic. (Though there are still some good tips in that post - my revelation is an addendum to those lessons.)
Happy Taylor posted smiles. Genuine smiles about the silliest of things. Happy Taylor posted photos of horses in wigs. Happy Taylor was so pleased with her Nancy Sinatra desktop wallpaper that she posed with it. She selfied with ice cream. With tofu dogs. With friends. With bird poop on her face. She selfied when she hit a pole and destroyed the passenger door of her car. Happy Taylor selfied with Jackson and Johnny on the regular. She stopped and smelled the roses. (Freaking literally, because I archived 47 photos of all the darn flowers I encountered.) The point is, when I was happy, I was present in my photos. I was present in my family. I was present, period. I showed up and damnit, I had a great time.
I’ve long lamented about losing myself in motherhood. Scrolling through my feed made it really obvious that I had let myself (mostly) dissapear. Sure there was the occasional Taylor photo, but only on a special occasion (new hair) or when visiting with a long distance friend. (Photos or it didn’t happen, right?) I appear in plenty of family shots - but that ties in with my point. Where was Taylor and what was she doing all the time, behind the lens? Why wasn’t she around? Why couldn’t we see her anymore?
I focus on my kids and I’m proud of that, sure. However, it doesn’t mean I have to fade into the background. And well, that’s what I’ve been doing. Who knew that a lack of selfie-ing would lead to this kind of revelation? (Is this the moment I became an official Millenial?) The big takeaway that I learned from Happy Taylor: Be present. Be goofy. Have fun and let your hair down. Stop taking yourself so seriously. Do embarrassing things because they make you laugh - years later, they still will.
I recently posted a photo about acknowleding my gratitude. That’s a sliver of the pie I’m working on. Another sliver, is finding myself.* You might notice an influx of selfies in my feed. It’s intentional. This is not vanity - it’s self care. I am forcing myself to look at myself, to remember that I too am an important part of this family. I’m a whole person, not “just a Mom”. I can exist within the frames of motherhood - and - outside of them, too. I’m allowed to enjoy my good hair days so much that I document them. I’m allowed to get to deep, or act a fool, even both and at the same time. I’m allowed to feel good about myself - shoot, I NEED to. I’m allowed to show up, and often. So, I’m gonna!
It was a real eye opener to revisit my old self. I could teach her a thing or two about life. It seems she had a lesson or two up her sleeve, too. I encourage you all to stroll down memory lane - and hey! Do me a favor, and take a selfie while you’re there ...
*A much bigger piece of this pie is professional help. Just don’t want to have ya’ll think I’m trying to selfie and thank my way out of the hole I’ve been caught in.