My new Facebook profile picture received lots of lovely comments – young, pretty, relaxed, peaceful, happy, content, gentle being just a few of them. I like it, it shows me how I like to imagine myself.
It’s cut from a larger picture. One that shows me as I hate to imagine myself, with the far too huge breasts that make me feel permanently self-conscious, frumpy, too old, too lumpy, not sexy, not attractive. Amazing what zooming in to the detail can do.
But with some tints and shades, a bit of a cover up and a slight change of reality, you can hide a multitude of things and a multitude of feelings. Just before that photo, Amelie took another one, which shows me much more how I really am – arms across my breasts, rather rumpled, rather haggard.
They remind me of this photo though (same top), when I definitely was looking happy and young and in as good a place as I could be. I like being reminded of this. And compared to my belly, one with Freddie as alive as he was ever to be, my boobs look small!
What does this picture show? Well, in the middle there is the bear my dad bought me when my mum was giving birth to me, when he was sent out of the room and told both of us might die. For my whole life, I’ve held that bear tight when things have gone wrong and I’ve needed a little slice of comfort. Around it are the 4 Merrythought bears my dad bought for each of the girls, above is Max and I on our wedding day and below are a picture of Freddie, one of the 7 of us together (the only one) and one of the first time I held Freddie, when he opened his eyes and peeped at me.
Unfortunately, a doll given to Freddie by a lovely friend has to stand in place of Freddie’s bear because my dad never bought him one. My dad left the country – and with it my mum – on the day of Freddie’s funeral and isn’t coming back. And that washes backwards; it means I can no longer pick up my bear and that the girls’ bears are tainted with betrayal. It means no bear for Freddie would ever be accepted now. It means everything about what I thought he held dear in my childhood family in terms of trust and love and honesty and togetherness is broken and rusted away and can’t be replaced. It means nothing about my childhood will ever look okay, because he has tipped the dirty paint water over it and the colours have run.