A couple of years ago, my amazing friend & Pulitzer prize winning photo-journalist Sharon Wahlmoth phoned me, sharing the tender story of finding & converting an old reel of film from the late 1940’s to digital viewing capacity. There, on the screen, was her tiny newborn self, swaddled & held lovingly by her mother.
Seeing her mother alive on the screen, she’d said, was both hypnotizing & magical. She lamented that it was the only instance of her on the entire reel & encouraged me to not just document my children’s days & ways, but to turn the camera to my own face, too.
“It will be a such a gift for them,” she said.
Though I tried, most of my documenting aimed steady at my children. It was, in fact, about them after all… wasn’t it? & anyway… why would I want to capture my tired & frazzled face?
Fast forward a couple of years & I am quite unexpectedly a participant in an online self portraiture course, gifted by amazing & magical friend Raji Kelly Simpson, who was interviewed on the last post here on The Sparkle Power Project.
NOW YOU became a forum where we turned the camera towards ourselves & the shapes our inner lives made.
“What are you doing, mamma?” asked my older daughter incredulously, the first time I turned the camera (phone) to capture my own image.
My kids did their darndest to squeeze their way in, or tried to take center stage altogether. So I began to sneak my sessions in behind closed doors- in the bathroom or my bedroom.
NOW ME indeed. I began to see myself with a new honesty- all the stuff I’d covered up, all the emotions I’d stuffed, the ways in which I put myself last in nearly every capacity of our collected life. It was tough going at times, but great excavation towards the ME I needed to acknowledge & the ME I needed remember.
Don’t get me wrong- it wasn’t all hard. My dreams began to reveal themselves, too. New hopes for the future, ones that integrated my own life as both my own individual self with my role as a mother. Dreams that felt alive & in every way possible.
This site was, in fact, born partly from the course & what it inspired in me- the idea that what we mothers need & want matters just as much as what we want to offer our children. Maybe even more. How can we support anyone if we ourselves aren’t feeling strong, nourished or passionate? It’s really up to us to find ways in which to cultivate those things.
My friend Raji is amazing at remembering this, nurturing herself just as much as she nurtures her son & husband. Lately, perhaps, even more so, since having been diagnosed with a rare thyroid disease. The self care component is especially critical at this time.
She is also pretty amazing in that she doesn’t let herself get swept up in any negative or fearful perspectives of her current story, only letting it serve as a vessel for moving her deeper into love, gratitude & possibility.
Her latest adventure is her beautiful & joyful affair with the art & expression of iphoneography, which she now shares with anyone interested next month in a 6 week online course…Selfie Love Summer Camp.
When’s the last time YOU got to go to summer camp? How about a little fun & play for YOU? How about allowing yourself the time & space to collect & reflect upon your own image while in the company of other loving people?
Really, when was the last time you put YOU as center stage in the picture frame? Your story matters, mamma. Why not have some fun remembering what it is?
You can find more details about the course here.
I hope I’ve planted a very important seed about something that can support you on your mamma journey, something you will relish both now & in the far-flung future as you reflect upon the images & the days that framed them.
I’ll see you there if you decide you’d like to water it… I personally can’t wait!
Big shiny hugs to you & yours,