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More than Selfies

November 22, 2019 4 min read 3 Comments

More than Selfies

The responses to our blog Selfies and Such were so beautiful, they warranted a post of their own. Thank you, lovely ladies, for sharing!!!

Cartoon pic of Jo and Brenna

For full disclosure, Jo (above with her daughter Brenna), is a dear and long-time friend of mine. We met in a bar (!) when we were both 9 months pregnant. She doesn't love selfies AT ALL but she does love me and was happy to read my original blog. I am so glad she did.

"I was really inspired by this blog. I had one selfie in mind from the beginning of my chemo journey that I wanted to send in, but can't find. However, digging through old photos looking for that picture has been such a gift. The thing that strikes me most are the captured moments we don't immediately see. In looking back over these filtered photos, instead of seeing personal flaws, I now see moments of strength, inspiration, beauty, and connection. I now realize it can even be the filter itself that changes our perspective from self-judgement and allows us to see ourselves as we really live. 

For the longest time, I have objected to the term warrior as a descriptor for someone facing cancer. I know many find solace in this title. I didn't feel strong enough for the role, and I rejected the belief that losing the war would somehow mean I did not fight hard enough. Going through pictures today, I found this selfie that my youngest daughter took and filtered for us during those difficult moments. Though I remember looking in the mirror and seeing fear, fatigue, and doubt, my daughter saw a superhero."

Here is her poem written by Jo's daughter shortly thereafter:
***
My mom is a soldier
She fights every day, because if she doesn't,
she'll have to leave my family and me. 
But my mom will never leave. 
She loves us more than anything else. 
My mom is a soldier. 
She had to shave her head to enlist, 
and now her scalp is smooth like a round pebble.
A cap covers it every day, she says because of the cold, 
but I think it is partly because she is ashamed. 
I am not ashamed of her because my mom is a soldier. 
There is no disgrace in the fight she fights. 
My mom is a soldier. 
The battle took her breasts, so now her chest is flat. 
That doesn't matter when she holds me. 
She still feels like home, warm and soft and sweet, 
and her voice has the same melody as it did before. 
My mom is a soldier. 
The poison that they give her makes her weak, 
but it keeps her with me. 
She doesn't remember things anymore, 
and I can see her hating herself every time she forgets. 
But I don't mind because my mom is a soldier. 
I'm grateful for every day we have together. 
My mom is a soldier.
When she falls asleep on the couch next to me, 
I try not to wake her, try not to breathe too deep. 
She needs her strength to continue the fight. 
My mom is a soldier. 
She has to be. The other kids at school feel bad for me, 
but I don't want their pity. 
I have the best mom in the world, soldier or not, 
and the battle has only made her stronger. 
My mom is a soldier. She will survive the fight. 
***

"I may not believe yet that I am a warrior, but I now know that am a soldier—we all are—fighting every day to live and give and love to our fullest potential. I am so thankful for the selfies I took on this journey in life, even if I hated them in the moment. They show a life well-lived and full of so much love. I am eternally grateful for all of it—flaws, filters, and all."

Jo's words resonate so deeply for me, and I trust will for so many of you. If you are crying...you are not alone.

Other selfie stories stole my heart too - please enjoy a sampling below. Thank you to each of these women for sharing!!!!
 

Jen, peeking out from the covers on a chilly November morning after saying YES to camping with her husband in the cold. That decision, and this pic, are part of her journey to feel more comfy in her life, in her body, and in front of the camera.

I love everything about this!

 

This pic is of Yanni, post-mastectomy, with her beautiful girls. She finally felt decent enough to hug them close and offer a smile. They were at home, on their couch, reveling in their relief.

And they bring happy tears to my eyes!

Connie, celebrating her love, in a little town in Saskatchewan called Love. 

Connie, I ❤️ you both.

"This one stuck out to me. It is from my first 50k. I was running with a friend and a young woman who was out for a long run decided to join us. We all had so much fun and the photo really captures the joy of that moment."  

Bonnie - you three inspire me!!  I love examples of women supporting women. Thank you!!! 

Anita: "I love this selfie because I was truly happy!  I was going out with my hubby around Christmas 2018. I was comfortable, dressed in a Nuu-Muu, pearls and Santa earrings, which pretty well sums up me."

I adore this picture, and the light in your eyes, Anita! Thank you! 

"I was so proud of me for daring to take my two boys on a 3 day ski trip into the mountains. So proud of them persevering despite sometimes tough conditions. 
On the way home, my 9 year old says: Mum you're a bit like the Hulk, but without the anger thing. I haven’t ever gotten a nicer compliment."

Love, Lisa in Sweden

Debbie shared a picture from last month at Escher Museum in The Hague, The Netherlands. "We laughed so hard there!"

Thank you for sharing laughter!!  You two are darling!

 

My takeaway: Let's laugh, let's love, let's celebrate, let's be strong, let's be joyful, and let's be happy with ourselves and our moments.

- Christine

 

 

 

 


3 Responses

Debbie
Debbie

December 03, 2019

What a tender, heart-felt post and poem, reminding us all to love well, hug our loved ones a little tighter, be there in the painful times, and to laugh together every day.Thank you for so artfully putting this together, Christine!

Jennifer Brecht
Jennifer Brecht

December 03, 2019

Look at all these wonderful, incredible women. LOVE!

Jo
Jo

December 03, 2019

Oh Christine! I love this. Thank you for sharing all of our stories and pictures. I am lit up by all of these moments. It is true I don’t like selfies AT ALL and really don’t access social media much. But, the same way I’m appreciating my own pictures, I’m sitting here full of gratitude for being able to see and connect with all these beautiful women in your blog! Maybe I need to to rethink my social media views as well 😉

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