Kinda…but not really.
That’s me, circa 1992.
It’s the age-old “knowing what I know now” trope, but I’m aware of its presence, nonetheless.
My sister recently sent me a text with That Guy’s picture in it.
Found this in a frame behind pics of your cousins!
Family Is: enjoying the uncertainty of that comment.
Was it something about me appreciating the nostalgia of this surprise flashback?
Or was it a darker dig, letting me know mom had covered That Guy up with more recent photos of other family members?
Like I said, I enjoyed both possibilities, because even if it was the latter, my family know that I’d be amused by the situation.
Like my mother, I’ve also covered That Guy up. Unlike her, though, I’ve covered him up with dryer skin, unwanted body hair, inexplicable and hopefully subtle creases and wrinkles…and what’s probably pushing 50 extra pounds.
What can I say? My mom is way more subtle than I. Clearly, my unintentional efforts amounted to overkill.
When I look in the mirror, I still see that same suspicious side eye look. I’m giving it to myself now, not someone holding a camera.
But would I trade my crepe-y skinned hands and the “shed” I’ve built over my “tool” to return to those glory days of physical attributes?
No, no…I would not.
That Guy was all angst and emotional discord. Naive but projecting a false confidence.
I may have had to trade – what I failed to realize about myself at the time – fucking amazing good looks to get to the functional state of brokenness I inhabit now, but I’ve also traded that naïveté and false confidence for a reality I recognize and accept.
I’ll take seeing the world as it really is over not seeing my own worth any day.
Although, I have been staring harder at my reflection lately and wondering if my brain is still believing the same lies my eyes tell it. Will I look back at pics of me today and think, “What a handsome old devil I was!” twenty or thirty more years from now?