My iPhone and I will celebrate our first anniversary in April. The camera + Instagram filters = favorite toy since, well, the bicycle my grandmother won in a contest and gave to me when I was 5 or 6. It was green with the u-shaped handlebars of the 1970s, and it had a white vinyl banana seat printed with pink flowers. That bike meant freedom to explore my suburban world and the surrounding farm fields faster and farther than before. With the iPhone camera I’ve learned to pay attention in new ways and to see beauty everywhere. I began looking at the juxtapositions of opposites: old/new, natural/man-made, blooming/fading. One bright blue day I looked up at the tangles of wires I believed destroyed the beauty of the city with their messy, unruly tangles and I saw something different. The parallel black lines against the cerulean sky was beautiful. Then the birds landed and the wires became the staff upon which musical notes bobbed up and down in the breeze. Beauty. Everywhere.
C pointed out that I always leave the vanity mirror door slightly open. Without thinking, I said, ‘that’s so I don’t have to look at myself when I get out of the shower.’ Whoa. Then I noticed how I worked at an angle when I stood in front of the kitchen sink–as if I couldn’t quite bring myself into the present moment for fear that it wouldn’t live up to my expectations. When it came to other people, places, and things, I saw beauty everywhere. I saw it in the jaunty set of the red knit cap and dirty orange fleece of the old man as he walked past our house. I saw it in the pile of mangled bicycle wheels, in the macabre skulls and twinkle lights over the bar at Cantina Diablo, in the faces of strangers, in the faces of friends. It is so obvious to me when I look at anyone but myself. I look at myself and I see a list of self-improvement projects the completion of which promise the future in which I can finally let myself feel safe, happy, and alive. I have a feeling I’m not the only one.
It’s been a while since I posted with any regularity. There were some things I had to work through to get to the place where I felt I was sharing rather than looking for approval from outside of myself. That’s the thing, you know? No one else can give us what we need. While I was away from this space, I figured out what I want and am practicing giving it to myself. Beauty. Everywhere. Even in the mirror looking back at me.
I missed you.