07 November 2011

who i was + who i am / a study in self portraits

There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged 
to find the ways in which you yourself have altered. - Nelson Mandela

through all this hubbub of getting back into routine of living our new life here, i haven't sat still long enough to process the major life changes that have been going on. i've been trotting along and suddenly it hit me while burning cds the other night. or should i say morning (i do my best work in the wee hours). i've been dusting out iphoto and clearing some space on the hard drive. i couldn't help but smile upon discovering these two similar self portraits; four years apart. it took these two photos to make me stop and think for awhile. about who i was and who i have become in this short span of time. it's funny to think, little by little, i am turning into the future me. i like when life does that to you; wraps you up from a long race to remind yourself about who you once were and who you are now.

same place. same girl.
same awesome office building in salt lake city.
same favorite brownies from the judge cafe.
different complexion (california vs. idaho sunshine).
same style of peter pan collar blouses.
different cameras (both loved and abused).
same handy camera strap.
same size (giant) bag. one size fits all (my stuff).
same finicky hair. was brunette, now back to blonde.
(looking frazzled from those days of taking the bus.)
same me who likes it pulled away from my face for work.
same funny hopeless eyebrows.
same crooked smile.
different fingernails. more excited to paint them now.
seemingly a bit more comfortable in my own skin now.
(even though i can no longer squeeze into that yellow H&M blouse.
am still keeping it however. same sentimental me.)
and i still love (and wear) that green cardigan.
best christmas gift from husband.
same loving amazing husband.
who knew we had a whole adventure lying ahead of us?

as i look at these photos; i see the ocean of experience the young me is about to embark on.

the girl in the mirror wonders about careers, location, and settling in and babies and raising a family and churning out a homemade business and where it will all lead. she has lots of plans, little direction. she is suddenly taking lots of pictures and wonders about the future. she wants the answers now. she is not unlike the present-day me who would like to see life in buffet form; all the options out in the open. she was a working girl; staying up late and blogging up a storm (i had so much to learn!). not much has changed in that arena. she had no idea she was about to become a country mouse for three years. she was still missing california. she did not know how awesome idaho could be, the lifelong friends she would meet or the new tiny spud she'd hold every day in that little apartment. she didn't know what idaho winds were like or how many snapshots she'd take of the whipped cream clouds. she didn't know about roadtrips with sunglasses on and baby in tow.

she was fearful of change yet impatient about real life hurrying up and getting started. she listened to jimmy chunga every morning on the radio. not necessarily because she liked him. she took the bus every day and applied mascara when it stopped at the university. she had just learned the recipe for dan's soon-to-be favorite chocolate chip hobbit cake. (she will be making it for the rest of his life.) she tried to do too much. and she didn't even know about pinning yet. or twitter or facebook. myspace never tempted her. she was easily excitable, eager to please, and happily in charge of planning the fiestas every month at work.

she wore scarves and an ipod and a giant bag everywhere. she did not worry about naptimes or feedings, diaper bags or nursing bras, sleep-training or potty-training. she was confident; but naive to all that was right around the corner. in a few month's time, she would have a stack of books on her nightstand. she was about to find out what pregnancy feels like. she would learn the happiest news on christmas eve and never feel the same again. feeling those first kicks of motherhood is a new sensation. i wish i could tell her how much joy that baby boy brings. but she will see. those are things you cannot begin to explain. some things must be felt. and much later, the girl in the mirror would know the feeling of losing a pregnancy. gaining new empathy for loss and sadness. she would know what it means to feel real sad and broken. i wish i could tell her how to prepare for it. but that too was a learning curve only to be fully understood by experience. she would meet friends who made her stronger. she learned new love and happiness in the now. she would see a husband graduate, pass the bar (yay!), become a real lawyer and a father all in a year's time. wow. writing that now opens my eyes to his own learning curve. there is such beauty in remembering how God has a plan (far better than one we could devise on our own); that His path steers us right where we ought to be.

same girl. same city.
same me. new me.
new lessons in my heart.
same wonderings of what is to come.

life is good / oh how good it is to remember.
remember what you've been through.
remember what makes you strong.
remember where you've been and who you are.
remember where you are going.
remember / you. can. do. this.


Cat said...

Great post. So true!

{amy k.} said...

Love this post and the idea. Its always nice when life hands you a moment to reflect.

talesofahummingbird said...

beautiful reflection. you certainly do look happy and content and yes - very much so more comfortable in your own skin - the glow of confidence snuggled into your happy corner of blissful realilty. :) they say 30 is the best decade - we've learned so much but also know how much we still have to learn and are eager and excited in this decade instead of anxious and irritable about all that's to come. enjoy, beautiful marta!

Hil said...

Marta you are gorgeous, inside and out. This post is equally beautiful. Amazing how life's challenges often become life's biggest learning and growing moments. You are such an example to me and I am so grateful you spent 3 of those 4 years in Idaho so that our paths could cross!

p.s. I love the braid/twist!!

meghan said...

Marta - long time lurker, but I had to comment on this. For some reason, this post REALLY speaks to me. Not sure if it's because I'm at a similar age/point in life but for some reason it just clicked. In a soulful way. So - thanks for writing it. Thanks for giving me food for much thought today. I'm printing it and pinning it above my desk at work.


Heather Mead Kim said...

Great post, Marta, and thank you for sharing with us! Moments that bring realizations like these are a true gift.

Anonymous said...

wonderful post. to me there are so many differences between the two photos. you look beautiful in both, but exude a confidence in the second. lots of love.

Emily said...

Beautiful, honest insights. Thanks for sharing your gift!

Brianna said...

I love your insight and the adorable, poignant little summary at the end. Thanks for making your blog so entertaining while I'm chugging away at the office. :)

[eeny] said...

This post is awesome, Marta.
I think everyone should stop for a second and think about what she/he learend from life during the last couple years every once in a while. And of course appreciate it and be thankful for everything that happened - good or bad - because that is what makes us the ones we are right now. Still the same but yet so different.
Thanks for the reminder.

quilter5706 said...

Marta: You are such a special person. We are glad to have had that little time in Idaho with you and your little family. Interesting how life deals us trials. And we still have the strength to deal with them.

tahereh said...

I've loved reading your posts for years now, but have never commented. I just wanted to say thank you for this post. Its beautiful, and just what I needed today. Today is going to be beautiful, and yes, I can do this.

Ashley said...

Beautiful Marta! You have a gift for expressing what so many of us feel sometimes. Thanks for always being so willing to share!

Travelin'Oma said...

Love this post. It is vintage Marta. You are continually discovering what is waiting deep inside your soul—you've always had this depth, but it rises up as you need to draw upon it. That part is true for everyone. Your gift is that you notice it, and remind the rest of us with your insightful writing. Beautiful.

ls said...

i don't comment here often, but this post touched me so much that i felt like you should know. it is a beautiful exercise to reflect on who you were/who you are, one that i think i will have to try myself. i love the idea of acknowledging and celebrating the growth and evolution of one's self, while realizing that some things (happily) will always be the same. thanks for the afternoon thoughts :).

Claire said...

I've been traveling back through your younger-year posts recently, because I am at that younger-year stage. I love this post. It gives me a glimpse of what I have to look forward to in my getting-older years. Lovely to see what you've learned, how you've grown, what you know now.

You write what you know you should write. And that's why I keep coming back: You are real.

Miranda said...

Well this is just beautiful. I sure do love you and your writing!

Anonymous said...

wow. i love your writing and how it always gives me a moment to consider in my own life.x

Senja said...

i just shed a tear reading this beautiful post. you are a beautiful and inspiring person marta. :)


Kate Sullivan said...

Like several others, I've been reading for a long time but have not commented. I just wanted to say that this was beautifully written! Thank you for helping me stop and reflect today.

Anonymous said...

lovely. thank you! i need to write about what i have learned, also in such short periods of time.

Camille said...

love your writing on this post. thanks for taking the time to reflect and share.

Amanda said...

This post is the. best. ever. I especially love this line: "she was fearful of change yet impatient about real life hurrying up and getting started." Describes me to a T right now.

Ali said...

what a lovely post. and I have to agree with the commenter above, Amanda - the line that struck a chord with me was "she was fearful of change yet impatient about real life hurrying up and getting started". I'm about to embark on a big life change, and so anxious, yet I'm always wanting to skip ahead in life and have the family/house/career thing sorted! Love the idea of the post. I might borrow it if you dont mind.

Moments and Impressions said...

This is my new favorite... Oh the things you would love to tell yourself before they happen - but it would never match experience. You don't look a day older in the second photo - but you look a lot more sure. Sure of where you have been and where you are going. Sure of the you and all the things that make you Marta.

Beautifully written.

jen byard said...

Thanks for sharing this today Marta. I needed it!

Vanessa Rae said...

Oh Marta, I love your thoughts as much as I love your eye brows.


Shannon said...

love the thoughts on this post so so much! I love to self reflect. And you articulated it beautifully.

and on a side note I'm so curious to see what other people do when they clean out their iphoto. Even though I have copies on an external hard drive, and I upload to costco photo. Still I hate deleting the "event" off my mac. Do you? or am I crazy?

What's your system of backing up photo's / home video's? this could be a whole post of it's own!

Melissa said...

I love his post Marta. It makes me think of who I was years ago and how different I am. We've been married 24 years. I grew up after I got married which is really hard. I may have to write about this. Thanks so much for the spark. ;)

Hannah said...

Marta- This made me cry. I feel like I'm in the midst of many of the feelings you described. Hoping I can get to the understanding that you have now. We went through a hard loss a few months ago, and I can somewhat relate to your heartbreak. I've had to constantly remind myself since then that God has a plan and that I'm strong enough to make it through these trials.

Love you & your writing, Marta.

Ashley said...

I absolutely love this post. So beautiful and inspiring.

Hannah said...

Marta, this is such a beautiful post. You are a wonderful writer & it's a joy to read your words. Thank you for encouraging us as your readers to be full of hope & excitement at all that lies ahead, simply by sharing your story : )

michelle said...

I really love this. Especially the thoughts that you wish you could share with your younger self. The reassurance we wish we could impart. But in so many things, we just have to experience it, there is no other way to get it.

I kind of want to do a similar post with my reflections. Thanks for your inspiration.

Jonesy said...

i have been reading (and truly appreciating) you're posts for awhile now but i don't believe i have commented before. this might be my favorite post ever. i'm 29 and while my head knows that a number doesn't really mean anything, i find myself freaking out over 30. this is a nice reminder that looking back is a healthy thing and can really help to illustrate the growth that you've achieved. it doesn't always have to be "i was sooooooo thin!" (although seriously, it's nuts how thin i was). thank you for always sharing so much of yourself. you inspire me to be truer in my writing.

jacs23 said...

thank you for this. for being real. for writing. for experiencing and reacting. for dreaming. for hoping. and for being who you, genuinely, are. your heart is pure..and it draws me back to your writings...daily. :) ><>

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