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!