Friday, July 4, 2008

Fade in

Yesterday, C and I ran some errands, including the renewal of my driver's license. I was kind of looking forward to it since my (now) previous picture was not flattering at all -- I was growing out a pixie cut and just having a bad day dealing with the dmv. Now, I am an average-looking person, and not terribly photogenic on a good day, so yes, I was vain enough to want to get rid of that picture.

When we got to the satellite dmv station yesterday, there was almost no wait, the process was easy and the person behind the counter actually pleasant. Filled out the forms, paid my fee and sat down in front of the blue curtain to have my picture taken.

The nice lady said to smile at the count of three and heaven help me, I tried. I made some kind of face, she snapped the picture and that was it. (Usually they let you see the picture before they finalize it, but this woman just took the picture and sent it off.) Did it come out okay? I asked. She said, "Uhh, yeah..."

She hands me my driver's license and it's quite possibly the worst picture ever taken of me. Ever. Not only is it a terrible angle, terrible face I'm making, it was kind of overexposed, so it's a very light image. Like a ghost. It makes my throat clutch to think about it.

It was horrifying. I can't even look at it. I turned it around in my wallet so I won't see the picture.

Yes, yes, I know my driver's license picture has nothing to do with who I am, but god, could it have represented how I've been feeling more accurately? Ugly, invisible, pale, sad. It's not really me. I am not really me, either. I'm barely here. A shadow, a ghost of my former self.

It's so poetic I could puke.


Today is July fourth. Independence Day here in the good old U.S. of A.

It is also 6 full months since I lost all physical connection to my sons. I was awake last night at the times it was noted that they were delivered. Part of me feels like I should feel "freer" now, like I've passed this milestone so I should be feeling better somehow. I don't know. That doesn't even make any sense.


I cannot thank you all enough for talking me down this last week or so. It was so frightening to be back in that place, and really feel like I was the only one "weeping in the corner." I can't tell you. Really. I am so grateful to you, and feel such relief to not be completely alone, as I sometimes feel. To not be completely losing my mind, as I sometimes feel.

I knew six months was supposed to be hard, but Jesus. I had hoped maybe I had had my setback at 4 months, and that maybe I was getting better. And maybe I would escape the six-month hole. (Remember the one from The Sil.ence of the L.ambs? With the bloody fingernails and screaming?)

So. I'm feeling a little more human now, but even the grief and sadness feel different now. I feel so much older. And yet, as I said above, barely there. Not quite me. I get little glimpses of me, here and there. And then I can feel it fading away again. Me, rather, fading in, fading out.


beth said...

okay, so i have recent experience with this photo thing. and holy hell it was upsetting, for exactly the same reasons you're describing -- i feel like i've changed so much, and not in a good way, and to have a photo that appears to document that (and in my case close family members who actually didn't recognize me and said semi-mean things about the person in the photo) -- well then. sucks. okay, so my thought is: can you "lose" your new license or whatever it would take just to get a new photo?

because the way that you feel now, the invisibility, the ugliness -- it's not who you are, not now or ever.

thinking of you and wishing you some peace today.

Julia said...

I love the "so poetic I could puke" line.
Six months was tough for me too. I think it tends to be for most. I am sorry. And I hope you find your footing again, more days than not.

nikole said...

Sending you light and strength and hopes for peace.

Ya Chun said...

That sucks about your photo, but I guess it doesn't really matter, right? You'd think that cosmic balance would give us some small break, but no.

It's up and down here too, with the one constant: we miss our children.

luna said...

I hate getting those pics taken. for my job I have to get a photo taken for security ID every time I go to a meeting at a certain office, and it seems that each one is worse than the last. I hate wearing them, I tend to hide them before ripping them up when I leave. nice self image, huh? so I kwym.

I agree 6 months is really hard. I'm glad you're on the other side of at least this marker.

noswimmers said...

Damned DMV. That's crappy that she didn't let you see the pic.

I know what you mean about feeling faded, invisible...hang in there hun. ((HUGS))

CLC said...

Ugh, I have never had a decent driver's license in my life, unless I am really as ugly as the pictures they take and I am just in denial!

Anyway, glad you realize you are not alone and you are not weird for feeling the way you do. I think it just comes in waves. And every now and then there will be a calm, but I am certain there will always be waves. It just sucks that this is our new life. I am kind of resigned to always feeling the melancholy, but I really wish I could go back to the old me. The melancholy just sucks ass.

Xbox4NappyRash said...

I just want to say I greatly admire your honesty.

As hurt and bad as you feel, you show it all.

You have my respect and my best wishes.

G said...

I had to have my drivers license redone at 3 months (and due dateish) out. I can't even look at it, I dont recognize myself. I keep the old license (they punch a hole and give it back) on top of it in my wallet and only pull it out when asked by someone official.

I am sorry 6 months was so hard, but I am profoundly glad to hear you made it through to the other side. We are always here with you.

Reese said...

I took my DMV pic 2 months to the date after I lost Ronan. I look hopped up on drugs and I swear I am purplish looking...

Amazing how grief photographs.


Tash said...

I've quit taking pictures altogether since last February. For starts, I look wretched: old, pasty, huge circles under the eyes, unkempt. Ridden hard, put away wet. Second, I don't want to remember this time in my life, ever. I'm not sure when "this time" will move into a place when I'm comfortable remembering, but I'm certainly not there yet. Thirdly, it hurts so much to look at old photos, especially of Bella. All I can think of is what Maddy would look like at that age. I look back at the old me and think about how happy and thin I looked. I can't bear to view my old photos, so why bother taking new ones? Finally, I want to live in front of the lens. Given the option of playing with Bella, and seeing her with my eyes, and hearing her voice, and just being in that moment with her -- I'll take that over getting behind the camera any day. All the ways of symbolically "remembering" living children -- photos, jewelry, etc. -- seem so trite to me now. People don't realize that they have no reason to remember the living, it's the dead that they'll want hang onto with symbols and stuff.

Anonymous said...


The 6 month mark is an odd milestone. at least for me. it represents half a year later. Is that good or bad? 6 months more far removed from the unimaginable pain of that day? 6 months closer to a resolution? 6 months closer to your next child? i really don't know the answers to these questions. in most accounts I was better after the first 6 months after I lost Emi. I figured I was 6 months closer to my next child. oh wait, that didn't work out either? hmmm. never mind.

i'm sorry that you have to even contemplate such a milestone. They should be with you dammit. All of them should be with their mommies. I am sorry you feel blue. In all honestly time forces us to move forward, and it serves a reminder of how far along we have gotten. And even if we take 1 step forward and 2 steps back, as least we going forward, no matter the speed. Thinking of you.