A couple of day's ago I was chatting online with Mike and he sent, via some magical process a bunch of pictures of Joe and I from various family kind of events over the last many years. It was fun looking at them and remembering where we were, what we were doing and even what we were talking about at the time. Joe and I have been horrible historians of our life. We have traveled half the world and all over this continent and haven't a picture to show for it. We have bought cameras and even have used them a few times but to no real effect. Looking around our apartment we have very few pictures of ourselves. In a very few weeks we will be celebrating our 41st anniversary and I doubt if we have 41 pictures of us anywhere here.
Mike, however, documents every aspect of his life. Ruby and Sadie will be amongst the most photographed children in the world. As adults, they will have a photographic history that will be unrivaled. I think this is a good thing. Joe and I have joked that when we die, they'll have to get pictures from Mike for the newspaper obit and memorial ceremonies. Ah, well, the blog serves at least to have documented some of the last few years.
But on to what I wanted to write about. In most of the pictures Mike chose to send I was standing, walking, being up and being able. It startled me to see myself that way. I didn't realize until the pictures came through that my sense of self has become so entirely wrapped up with the 'me now' that the 'me then' seemed foreign, almost wrong. How strange is that?
I realized that I didn't miss the 'walking' version of me, simply because it was just a version of me. When I look at my face in the pictures it's still my face, the 'me-ness' hasn't changed. Not at all.
There was one picture where I was standing behind Joe, I tower over him because I'm a bit over six feet tall and Joe has to get on a couple of phone books and stand on tippy toe even then to get anywhere near that height. In all recent photo's Joe has towered over me. Because me sitting is very different than me standing. I look at those pictures and it's still 'Joe' his 'him-ness' hasn't changed.
I thought that disability was supposed to be a life shattering experience. But these pictures put it in context, our selves may wear different 'drag' but come morning, the light that burns in my eyes still comes from the same candle.
A picture is worth a thousand words, but the worth of self - priceless.