Life from this Lens blog circle for May — Get in the Frame

My second month in our Life From This Lens blog circle, and boy was it a tough one.  The theme is “Get in the Frame,” in other words, self portraits — which I pretty much hate doing 🙂  I gave it a shot at least.  I hope you will follow to the next person in our circle Alisa to see some more interpretations of this theme.

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Self portraits are a real challenge for me because I have struggled with the loss of my hair since my cancer treatment in 2015. I know it’s crazy, because I should just be grateful that we were able to take care of the cancer and I am more or less back to normal, but losing my hair was almost as traumatic as having cancer. My eyebrows were completely gone. I was bald as can be. My eyelashes all fell out over two days of the worst itching, irritated eyes of my entire life (except maybe that one time I accidentally got peppermint oil in my eye — Awful!! You can’t flush that stuff out!)

Anyway, my hair has grown back (mostly) and my eyebrows and eyelashes are coming along (thank you, Lash Boost).  Still.  I have never had short hair in my life, and every day as I try to cover the still-bald spots with wispy thin hair from the other side of my head I am reminded of what I lost. I’m no fashionista, preferring instead a pretty casual, laid back style of clothes and makeup, but my long, loose curls were part of my “beauty.” This is all hard to say, but I think you get the idea. I’m crippled by my desire to look the way I used to, but I’m fairly certain I never will. The chemo took my hair, and it took the peace and joy from my face. It took my healthy glow. It took my eyebrows that I never even plucked. But it didn’t take my gumption. I can still be brave. I’m going to go through with this self-portrait stuff because I need to. I need to start seeing myself again.

This is a phone shot of me the morning before I had the hairdresser cut my hair short in anticipation of it all falling out. I can see how clear and healthy my skin looked too. Chemo really does do a number on your looks! And another with my husband on the day it started to fall out. I like that I still look happy.

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Three years later, I have most of a head of hair. And I’m doing my best to move on. So here’s my first full-on self portrait. I have tried hard not to be self-indulgent or dwell on my loss, but to pretend it doesn’t affect me on a daily basis would be lying.

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So I took a few more in some nice window light — played around with the editing, just for fun.

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And that is about all I could stomach of self-portraits for now. But I did grab some “action” shots at the Moxi Museum in Santa Barbara. One of the activities is to jump as high as you can and then you can see a video of yourself afterwards. So I took a picture of that. And some other fun things. I’m like a kid at that place — I love kids’ science museums. That’s my little budding photographer jumping with me 😉

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My 5 year old took this picture of us on my iPhone a few weeks back. I’m really glad to see I look happy — worn out and still bald-ish, but happy. Thanks for listening.

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Hoping you will follow along to the next photographer in the circle, Alisa. Cheers!

One thought on “Life from this Lens blog circle for May — Get in the Frame

  1. Oh my goodness, Loren, this is INCREDIBLY beautiful. Your vulnerability and honesty is so refreshing. I think we all struggle so much as we get older, but adding cancer to your story creates a whole new level of insecurity, and it’s incredible that you are willing to share. My husband has alopecia (not a single hair on his body, including no eyebrows, lashes, nose hair). When he lost it all (within a matter of days at age 36), it was very traumatic. Obviously he didn’t have the struggle of cancer, for which we were so grateful, but it still was an extreme and permanent change that was very painful to go through. He still misses his eyebrows. Anyhow, I just understand a bit of that part of your story. The rest of it, I can definitely imagine, plus you so beautifully explained it here. I’m so thankful for your candor. I am very truly not just saying this … you look absolutely stunning in these photos. You are incredibly beautiful, you are glowing, and you exude joy.

    Like

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