I can feel the sun’s heat on the back of my neck. It has warmed me through the window as I sat perusing the day’s Slices, avoiding the headlines completely & dodging the platitudes that seem to define my social media feed. The March sun has boldly sat in the sky, defying the shelf of grey that has threatened to roll in all day. But if I were to go greedily outside to immerse myself in the rays, I would be hit with the reality of 30 degrees, minus the factored-in wind chill. So, I sit here, and gently touch the skin that holds the whispers of summer.
There is something to be said (and I suppose I’m supposed to say it?) for choosing to eschew reality, for making the conscientious decision to select the fantasy, or the promise of the fantasy, over the callous truth. This is especially tempting when the truth has the power to bring down the entire facade that has become the only foundation you may have ever known. Some would say–have said–that the damage of accepting the truth would be–would have been–so damaging, that the continued lies far outweighed the alternatives. But what if you could do both? What if you see the entirety of it and, with all the information fully disclosed, are still able to choose? Or to not choose? Or choose not to choose?
I read recently that we don’t see ourselves in mirrors the way that others see us. That we can’t see what others see because we only see ourselves in reverse. But this backwards version of my face is all I know; it’s the same face I have scrutinized all my life. Occasionally, I am surprised by the beauty that reveals itself in a photograph that I don’t hate. A rare picture can disrupt the narrative I have chosen about my space in this world, forcing me to question everything.
My father was an expert at holding two things at once, but not in the same way that my best friend attempts to do. Where my dad skillfully constructed a life that was marked with deception, mistrust and false pretense, Emma lives hers striving to honor the myriad of emotions that are often contradictory. While my father’s legacy was a duality that is sometimes hard to articulate, I envy Emma’s honest commitment to authenticity. I am often more like my father than I like to admit, but, unlike him, I have an Emma to remind me that I am not just the woman in the mirror or the woman in the photograph. I am both…and more.