What better way to start off my Birthday day but with a self portrait of me in my birthday suit. When I took this shot it was really just supposed to be version of a pic I took in 2014 when I had 100 days hand painted on my back. Today I have 567 days, the most time I've willingly put together, and the more I looked at this picture I started to see the layers of shadows and again my image became a reflection of my life.
It starts with one day, then two, then three and so on. In this image Im one, the core of me, the darkest shadow represent the shame and guilt layers that I needed to shed, the middle shadow represent that need to please friends and family, institutions, and placing myself in that definition of insanity. You know that place where you keep doing the same thing expecting a different result.
Then there is the lightest shadow, the one that reminds me that the layers are always there but they get lighter and easier as time goes by as long as I continue to place myself first.
I've got a long way to go and I can't survive this alone and I don't have to, thanks to all the support I receive from friends around the world. It still amazes me that I can say that.
The 3 stripes represent 3 days. It only took 3 days for "Me" to break "Me down' and then 3 to build me up. 3 days after hating life so much to then regain more hope than you can imagine, to feel that I could conquer the world. 3 days will always remind me to never forget where I was.
So a few days ago I was on the tram with my suitcase on my way to a friends house, I saw a few people looking at my hair and my clothing. I took a second and observed myself as a stranger, I looked at my new sneakers and track pants, I noticed my suitcase, I'm obviously a tourist who just arrived in Melbourne.
I then thought, If they only knew 19 months ago I almost died, or that my birthday is in two days, or that I'm in recovery, or that I've been able to travel for the last 19 months, or that I'm developing my dream product, or that I was in a lot of pain from my neck and back injury. They never would have known I was praying silently and giving thanks for being in that moment.
How many people looked at me and made up their own story about me? How many people do we look at and do the same? I am more aware of this now more than ever, a behavior I choose to no longer allow myself to justify doing to others.
If they only knew why I was smiling at that moment, I'm one of the lucky ones. I'm different and I'm better today.
I celebrate 46 years alive and I get to do this in Australia again and my journey just keeps getting more amazing as time goes by.
So today I bought myself a birthday card and my gift is to recognize the qualities in me that I admire. The ones I want to continue and become better at.
- Continue to be kind to others
- Speak well of people
- Don't use cruel or demeaning words
- Build and encourage the young
- Inspire others
- Stop and offer help to strangers
- Say Goodmorning
- Always Positive
- Always be grateful
- Tell people what they mean to me
- Be there for others
- Picking up my phone
- Continue to remove negative vocabulary
- Just be LOVE in everything I do
- oh and be CREATIVE with it and share it
So remember to Love yourself today because 1 day leads to another then to another. This is a gift for anyone and everyone. We are worth it.
So 1,2,3,4 led me to 567 and this will lead me to many more if I want it bad enough.
And I want it bad enough, So Happy Freakin Birthday to ME!!!!! Happy Day 567
Love & Serenity and a whole lot of GRATITUDE,