Day 17 of the Blog Every Day in May Challenge is “A favorite photo of yourself and why.”
As is the way with most girls, I’m usually not a huge fan of most photos I see of myself, because I always focus on the flaws I see that have been captured. (“My arms look fat!,” “my hair is so frizzy,” “why did I wear that shirt?,” etc…) But I’ve picked three photos for this post that will always represent the moment or the general place I was in my life, which extends far beyond just the freeze-frame itself.
My uncle took this picture of me at the Virginia Tech English Department graduation ceremony. I was 21 years old and about 30 minutes away from receiving my Bachelor’s degree. I love that this photo has never been retouched in any way, and yet my eyes look bluer than I’ve ever seen them look in a picture. I also love that my hair is frizzy and there’s a single blemish at the top of my forehead. This shot of me captures the culmination of four years of college, and to me now, it represents the many things that I didn’t know were ahead. I was so young, and yet on this day and the many before and after it, I knew something big was coming. I knew I wanted something different than the situation I was in, and I was starting to adjust to those ideas.
I’m the one on the right of this picture. (That might have been obvious, as my blog photo was taken on this same night.) This was the summer of 2011, after I had finished my Master’s program, where I made some really great friends. I graduated in May, and P’s Master’s cohort started classes in June. We met for the first time in June, so this was also the very, very beginning of what would become our relationship. The two groups of Master’s students went out almost every night, and did anything and everything there was to do in the Charlottesville area.
The relationship I was in when the previous picture was taken had ended, and after a few months of serious depression and struggling with the change, I was actually the happiest I had ever been in my life. I started running, I discovered that I loved dancing and wine tasting and trying new things, and I was healthy and happy. (And probably in the best shape I’ve been in since high school–look at those legs!) This was also the period of my life that inspired me to start this blog, because I wanted to document it all. Anyway, I love this picture, because it brings back memories of all the nights we spent out drinking, dancing, and living that summer. (P was present the night this picture was taken, but he wouldn’t dance with me! We still joke about that from time to time.)
I changed so much that summer. I grew up. I knew who I wanted to be, and became her. I had great friends and made great memories. (Read a recap of those changes here.) I still look back on the summer of 2011 and think of it as probably the most important time of my whole life.
This picture. I hope P doesn’t see this (I’ve [jokingly] expressly forbidden him from reading my blog), because I don’t know how he’d feel about having a silly picture of himself on the internet. But I love this picture. It was actually taken by my friend Ashley, who’s on the left of the picture above.
Ashley and her boyfriend came to visit P and me in Farmville in February, and it snowed and was generally disgusting outside the whole weekend. We had plans to go to a rugby game and walk the High Bridge trail that day, but then it started snowing. And kept snowing. (Eventually, there were about 5 inches on the ground.) Ashley is never one to be deterred, so we found ourselves out in the freezing cold, clothes soaked all the way through, while snow and sleet and horribleness fell from the sky. I hate being cold, and I hate the snow. I also really can’t stand anything wet on the back of my neck, which, since he discovered it, has been an ongoing thing between P and me. (e.g. he’ll go out of his way to touch my neck with wet hands, etc., just to get a rise out of me. I don’t disappoint.) So on this freezing day, as we walked a mile or so down a trail to the High Bridge, I complained the whole time, and P mocked me.
Ashley managed to capture this picture, which shows P pressing his soaking-wet coat sleeve against my wet hair, wet scarf, and the back of my neck. I was freaking out, because I hated everything about the physical circumstances of the situation. And, of course, he thought it was hilarious. Because that’s what boys do. But what I really like about this picture is how happy we look, because although he knows I can’t stand wetness on my neck, he knows he’s within his limits to torture me with it. I love that he pushes my buttons (because he knows exactly which ones to push) and that we’re both allowed to drive one another crazy in ways that no one else can. I love that about our relationship.
It’s the little things, right?