What do you see when you look at the famous painting by Leonardo Da Vinci? What story do you think lies within and what the heck is she smiling about?
Most of us don’t have hand-painted portraits of ourselves or family members hanging on our walls, but we do have old photos in frames and if you’re like me, boxes and boxes of old photos waiting for organization.
How many times have you looked through your old photos?
How many times have you zeroed in on ones of yourself and thought wow, maybe I didn’t look as bad as I thought I did back then?
Maybe you were younger. Maybe you were thinner. Maybe your hairstyle looked better, maybe you had more hair. Or maybe you just HAD hair.
Have you ever looked at such old photos and said to yourself, I wish I still looked “that good”? And sometimes the photos don’t even have to be that old!
Recently I was looking at some pre-cancer photos of my family and myself. For me, pre-cancer photos mean the ones taken before my mom’s cancer because cancer started taking its toll immediately after her diagnosis. By the time my diagnosis came, some of the “damage” had already been done because as any cancer care giver will tell you, cancer takes a toll on them too. Sometimes my hubby jokingly reminds me of this, but we both know it’s true and in reality not actually all that funny.
Looking at those pre-cancer photos made we wonder, did we all look differently back then? Did we all look more care-free? Did we look more un-knowing? Did we look more unscathed and innocent? Did we all look younger and I don’t mean just in years?
Or am I just imagining such things? I don’t know the answer.
I do know for sure that since my diagnosis and treatment, I do look a whole lot different. This is obvious when I look at recent photos in which I have no hair, no eyelashes and no color. It’s still true today even with the slow return of such things.
But it’s more than the obvious physical changes I’ve been thinking about when looking at photos these days.
I feel a whole lot differently post cancer, too, and I sometimes wonder if this change is a visible thing. Do I have a different persona all the way around now? Do others perceive me differently? Am I different? Am I forever changed inside and outside?
Do I now have the look, “the look of one who has had cancer?”
Is this silly? Is this crazy? Do others have thoughts like these?
I also look at the most recent pre-cancer photos of myself and sometimes wonder about the cancer that was already growing in my body when the photos were taken. I study the photos looking for some outward sign or clue. Shouldn’t there be one? Shouldn’t there be some kind of indication that something was seriously amiss in my body?
Shouldn’t I have known?
Of course not, yet I keep looking. I keep wondering.
Photos are just photos. Paintings are just paintings. You can’t really tell what’s going on in a person’s life by just looking at a painting of them or by looking at their photo. Still…
Within every painting or photo there is a story, an event or a reason why the artist chose that subject or why that shot was taken on that particular day at that particular moment in time. The story is there even if you can’t see it, just as surely as there’s a story in that famous smile.
I seem to be looking harder for those stories now days.
How about you?