Thursday, March 17, 2016

The New (2016) Version of Me

 Any Felicity fans out there?

This post is long overdue.

These photos -- the first/best photos of me since cutting, losing and regrowing my hair -- were taken back in November. That feels like eons ago. Since then I've had two hair cuts!

New version of me, November 2015

This is 40. And a half.

A friend of mine, Elise, took these photos. I remember feeling happy and free and beautiful that day, and when I look at these photos I see that in my face.

But the truth is, I am still grieving my old self while I am learning to love my new self. It is hard to look at old photos and see the old me. The youthful me, with long, brown hair. I am not quite used to seeing myself with short hair. I am not used to seeing myself so gray. I am not used to seeing so much of my face. I am not used to seeing my body so soft. The newness is hard. Change is hard. 

When I opted to remove my ovaries and tubes -- to willingly enter menopause at 40 -- I didn't consider the emotional impact. I prepared myself for (some of) the physical changes, but I didn't prepare myself for how I'd feel about them. It's not just the hair, it's the aging that happened overnight.

I could just dye my hair (again). And I can grow it out. I can exercise more. I might do all of these things. And don't get me wrong, I do love me. I just got a hair cut I love (it's short and not wavy!). I don't even mind the sparkle. It's a process, though.

When she learned of my diagnosis, Elise offered to take family photos as a gift to me. We finally made it happen this past November when the whole family was in NJ. I think we were a little more than she bargained for: in addition to my husband and two boys, I brought along my parents, my sister, my brother in law, my brother, and Odin the dog.

The family.

Odin was my brother Pete's dog. Pete died in November 2013, and Odin now lives with my parents. Having Odin at the photo shoot was a way to honor Pete's memory and made taking family photos after such a great loss a little more bearable.

Look at this face! I love you, Odin!

In December I gifted to Elise a quilt for her new studio space. It was so good for my soul to make something for her to honor her gifts and our friendship. Would you believe I forgot to take photos of it? Here's hoping Elise reads this and sends me a beautiful photo to share with you. :)

If you ever have reason to be in Northern New Jersey, check out Elise Campbell Photography.


  1. What a poignant post. You have been through such a lot of grief and trauma over the past year and add to that the recent loss of your brother. This adds up to a tremendous amount of change. Menopause definitely changes you through and through. To go through it early is a raw deal.
    Personally, I think your short hair is adorable. Whether you decide to color it or not, you look gorgeous. The pictures convey joy. They are delightful. It was a treat to see your family. Thanks for sharing this post.

    1. Aww, thanks, Bernie. This one's for you: the post has rattled around my head ever since you asked about my hair. I'm sorry it took so long! xo