You Ought to be in Pictures!

It’s interesting, being a blogger with a camera.

Kids get all excited, make all kinds of funny faces, and want me to fill up my memory card with pictures of them.  Adults, on the other hand, run and hide.

And I don’t blame them.  I used to run away from the camera, as well.

Why?  Well that’s obvious.  I didn’t want to have an eternal copy of my less-than-perfect appearance.  I’m overweight, for crying out loud.  From certain angles I even have *gasp* a double chin (and it won’t go away, no matter how much weight I lose).  And–horror of all horrors–my teeth stick out.  As do my ears.

In other words, I should never have my picture taken, because I don’t look like Cindy Crawford.

It’s comical, but it’s also a really sad reality.  Why is it, that we treat ourselves more horribly than we would treat our worst enemy?  Think about it: do you avoid looking at your friends, because their teeth or crooked?  Do you not want to have any pictures of people you care about, because they look less than perfect?

It’s sad, because the way we regard our physical appearance shows a perfectionism that runs deeper than our skin.  We don’t like to be complimented, because we’re not so good at it, as someone else.  We’re afraid to take risks, because we’re not perfect yet.  We’re not worthy yet.  Just as we don’t want to be photographed until we lose weight, we don’t want to try until we are perfect.

You know what?  Perfection is overrated.  Life is about growing and changing, and our imperfections are what give us room to grow.  So get out there and try!

And don’t run and hide when someone gets out the camera.  It would be a boring world, if everybody looked like Cindy Crawford.

Cameras clip art

28 thoughts on “You Ought to be in Pictures!

  1. Love this post – we all need to be a little nicer to ourselves and this is a great way to point it out. I’m particularly fond of Anne Lamott’s idea of radical self care. The world is tough enough, we can be gentle with ourselves, right?

      • Hi Bethany,

        My all time favorite is Traveling Mercies, because it is some of her best writing and also her own story. She’s a really unique person and her writing is just incredible. Plus she makes me feel like some of my own secret scary bits are not so scary after all, and really what’s better than that? I also love Operating Instructions, which is the story of her first year as a new Mom.

        If you want to sample some of her stuff before you dive in and buy a whole book, she used to write columns for Salon and you can still find a lot of her stuff there.

  2. I so get this post. I hate having my picture taken because all I do is pick myself apart when I see it. Thanks for this post. Have you seen the Dove video where a police sketch artist sketches women based on their description of themselves and again based on a stranger’s description of them? It’s very insightful.

    • I have not seen the video, but it would be interesting. We see the good, the bad, and the ugly within ourselves, because we know everything that we think and do. It’s sad that we focus so much on the bad and the ugly, and completely ignore the good.

  3. I hate having my picture taken. When I was younger it was because I critiqued every little flaw. Now its because I compare my current pictures to the image I have in my head of how I want to look..thinner for starters.

    • I thought of you when I wrote this. 🙂 I have started jumping in front of the camera. It was hard at first–my weight is the thing that I’m the most self-conscious about, as well. But now I feel like I’m thumbing my nose at the people (peers, from long ago) who led me to be so self-conscious.

    • You two are so cute together! Thanks for the link to your blog–I’ve tried to find it, in the past, without success. So, you’re from that mitten-shaped state as well… 😉

      I think you are absolutely right–women are MUCH more sensitive to this issue. Somewhere, early on, we get the message that our self-worth is tied to physical beauty. It’s no coincidence that eating disorders affect more women than men. We’re trying to keep Beanie from getting this message. We’ll do our best, but she does live in a village…

      • It’s a little odd when I realize that I’ve lived over half of my life away from Michigan. My parents still live in the Detroit area, and we’ll head up to visit in the near future, so I maintain the connection. But sometimes I still think of myself as just temporarily displaced…:-)

        Two more thoughts on pictures: 1) The SO is sensitive, despite anything I say. She’s at the high end of preparation for those posted shots, so they don’t bother her. 2) If you are the camera person in the family or group, it takes an effort to get in the shots, just because you’re usually operating the equipment. I don’t show up for several years in family photos for that reason…

  4. Ah, Bethany. I just went through boxes of photos last weekend. Like Rob, I tossed many that didn’t have people. We love nature, but who needs 47 pictures of alligators? Some of my favorites are when people are purposely making funny faces. It just tickles me. I am letting go of caring because seven to ten years ago, I didn’t like my double chin. I lost weight, now I my nose looks like a bird. Cindy Crawford is air-brushed, and I like my laugh lines. I love this post because it makes me feel all warm inside!

    • Tammy, you reminded me of a make-up party I went to–you know, one of those multi-level things. The girl selling the make-up was playing on everyone’s insecurities, then “helping” them by finding a product that “hid” those flaws. The topic of wrinkles came up, and I said, “I’ve had fine lines since I was 12!” Everyone was kind of baffled that I really didn’t care about hiding them.

  5. So guilty of the hiding! The dove commercial another person wrote about made me cry. I was thinking they all look so nice. Why are they so negative about themselves. Then I was like, this is what I do to myself…

  6. My mom wasn’t a fan of having her picture taken. I think she came around in later years. Like the rest of us, I’m pretty sure she started to force herself into the frame. It’s a work in progress for me. I realized just how few pictures I have of my mother, and I don’t want that for my kids.

  7. I remember being a total camera ham when I was a kid and am not sure when I went from being camera forward to camera shy. Most of us are over critical of ourselves. I just watched the dove video some of you talked about on here and was amazed at the difference between the womens’ perceptions of themselves and how others saw them. There are years where I have probably only been in 1 picture. I didn’t even realize this until my SIL was making a family calendar and asked for our family pics! Terrific post.

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