The Day I Realized Why I Stopped Taking Photos Of Myself

March 3 — South America reminds me of my dad. A lot. We’re Mexican and Native American (Yaqui). There are plenty of similarities. Where I live in the States never reminds me of my dad. He hated Georgia. Partly due to the timing he was there. As a hippie, Vietnam Vet, and Mexican/Native American in the early 70’s he wasn’t very welcomed.

Fortunately, for me, he made the trip there to see my Uncle Salvador who was working as a cook in a restaurant. The place he would meet my mom. My mom, a “white” girl is the complete opposite of my dad.

I never really appreciated what it must have been like for her to date my dad during this time either. It’s never occurred to me that he is anything but the greatest man on earth. Moving her back to California didn’t solve any problems. Now she was the white girl in a Mexican neighborhood and not welcomed. However, in my life I’ve never really thought about it because neither of them let that be the focal point of our family.

I’ve been out of the States almost two months. In this time I’ve taken a few photos and none of myself. I’ve been captured in two group photos and that’s it. Yesterday a friend sent me a photo and old wounds were opened. Except now they went down to the bone and I’ve been crying for hours. I’m still crying as I type this.

At first I thought I was upset because of a past history together. He takes photos of himself out with friends often. In the time we were together we didn’t take any. Granted most of his are work related or with family. It was on our vacation together when I suddenly realized he loved me but wasn’t in love with me partly due to the absence of photos.

This comes from my dad. My dad was always taking pictures of us. He always carried a camera with him. I can’t even imagine what he would do with a phone camera! I wonder if he would be an Instagram user? Anyways, it was a way of saying I love you or I love this moment.

When my dad died I stopped having someone who would take pictures of me or with me. I have almost no photos of my 30’s. Now I hate having my photo taken so it’s kind of a no win situation.

I’m doing this Art of Charm challenge and have been stuck when I’m so close to finishing. The challenge, look at yourself in the mirror and take a photo. Well, it’s more specific than I made it sound. To me, it’s a selfie. I can’t do it.

In eight days it will be 14 years since my dad died and today I’m heartbroken.

I miss my dad.

I miss someone to tell me it’s going to be okay.

I miss his unconditional love.

I miss him as the only safe place I’ve ever known.

I hate knowing as I get older I need him more than ever.

I hate that I know exactly what he would say to me right now and I find no comfort in it.

I hate knowing I chase after things that can never be replaced.

I hate the more I need people the more I isolate myself.

All this made me realize what I haven’t for so many years. I stopped taking photos because it hurts. It reminds me of my dad.

Still as I sat here typing I felt him calling me to come sit with him on the couch. Lay my head on his chest and cry. So I did. I felt him hold me, brush the hair away from my eyes. He told me everything would be okay. I heard, I love you meja by someone who never took the love away. Someone who loved me so deeply my slightest accomplishments were cause for major celebrations.

It’s almost frustrating that I could believe with all my heart and soul things would be okay just because he said so. Have you ever trusted someone so much? He never said how things would be fixed, how things would work out, or how things would be better. Yet I never questioned him.

I question everything, everyone, even myself. Do my kids feel the same? Do I give them the same sense of peace my dad gave me?

That’s the second piece. I’m coming to the end of the summit work. My graphics are coming back and I thought I was upset because I didn’t have anyone to share it with. I can’t prove it to be true. I do.

I’m upset because the one person I want to share it with I can’t. The one person who could possibly be more excited than me isn’t here. The one person who could make me feel proud of myself, like I’ve really accomplished something doesn’t know.

He was also the one person who wouldn’t critique me or give me advice. He would simply love me. Today is the one day I wish it wasn’t true.

So many people will never know a love like this. They can’t possibly know what they’re missing. I do. I miss his love terribly. The thought of never having it again in my lifetime is more than I can bear today. So all I can do is cry. A lot.

I ended up being able to pull myself together and eventually the tears stopped. My eyes burned all day. This was the quote the stopped the tears:

“We don’t see the world as it is, we see it as we are.”~Anais Nin

Right now the world is a place without my dad. Billions of people on this planet and I am fixated on one. I choose to see it as a place where my photos don’t matter until they do. I can’t have it both ways. Wow. That was a wakeup call to myself.

— — -

I was invited to a nice lunch with one of the girls in the building at a vegetarian restaurant. It was so good and so much food for only $4 US. In Colombian pesos it’s $12k! Yes, it was pretty strange getting money out of the ATM and having 20,000 and 10,000 bills.

Later on I went dancing with a a couple of other Roamers. At first it felt a bit like Tango dancing. There were many steps to learn. Pretty uncomfortable for me. Luckily I went with others so it made it easier on me. I really did not like being touched or touching strangers. How can people be so comfortable hugging and putting their arms around others they don’t know?

My most comfortable partners were women. They were actually very good partners too. None of the men really spoke to me. On the other hand, one of the women told me in a very firm voice “hug me”. So I did.

It’s not all self-conscious drama though. I did have the opportunity to have a lovely dance with the instructor. Having a strong partner is all I needed. I rested my head on his shoulder when appropriate, touched my cheek to his, and was perfectly fine with him moving my body around. Quite the opposite of the lesson portion of the class. That’s what a strong partner will do for you. They don’t just lead they relax you and make you feel comfortable. Safe.

This is my first time in a Colombian bar. It is quite different. Happy hour cocktails begin very late at around 10pm and are buy one get one free. The size of the gin and tonics were huge. Like fishbowls! That’s not my drink. Thank goodness. After a certain hour they don’t serve cocktails or beer anymore, only bottles of liquor. I’m out.

It doesn’t matter how cheap it is here. This girl can’t have more than two shots without passing out. And you want to serve me a bottle?! I thought all these people I’ve seen walking around were crazy. They might be. Now I know they had less options and high tolerances.

My end of day gratitude:

  1. A nice, friendly, healthy lunch.
  2. Dancing.
  3. Ending the day better than I started it.

Check out my reason for making this trip here.

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