Monday, April 23, 2007

self portrait challenge: the body

My favorite past time: easily reading. When I was younger, I used to pull the comforter over my head and read with a flashlight: Nancy Drew, Little Women, The Secret Garden. Sometimes I would get caught, but others, I would read until my head bowed lower and lower. One night I read for so long, the heat of the flashlight burned a round brown mark through to the mattress pad.

For the longest time, I had twenty-twenty vision, and I was proud of that. If I wanted, my mother told me, I could be a pilot.

So when I tried on my mother's weak glasses several summers ago and the tree branches came into sharper focus, I was disappointed: now, I must wear glasses. The shape of my eyes are changing.

I am aging, after all. Some days I spend resisting that shift, and it is especially hard teaching high school students whose bodies are young and taut (as mine once was). I remember being able to pull myself up and around furniture, shapes of things, my boyfriend, and now I clambor, groan, heave.

But I will not stop reading. I will not stop straining until the last of that good light fades, secretly reading by the dim lamp light, much to my fiance's chagrin. I keep pages as quiet as possible and accept the glasses I now ought to wear when driving, when walking down school hallways, when watching a film. Everything is a little blurry sometimes, but I keep what is important sharply in focus and close to my heart.

Enjoy other self portraits here.

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