Camera Shy

Mom disappeared somewhere in 2001

I realize that i have been doing something stupid, selfish and vain.  Harsh words maybe, but they are real.  Stupid – selfish – vain.  I have a ton of pictures that I have slowly been scanning in hundreds of pictures that I have stored on my computer.   I have been trying to organize them and share them.  But as I was going through these pictures I noticed a couple things.   I hate pictures of myself and there are painfully few of them.

Birthday Party

The reason there are so few pictures of me and why they are so hard to go through is really the same thing:   I hate how I look in pictures because I am way heavier than I want to be.  I am critical of myself in the pictures because I see every fault, and especially the fat and I hate seeing that.   It should be a touch crazy that there are so many pictures with no me and those few pictures of me that  there are I just pick apart because I don’t look like a model.

Someday my children will be looking through these pictures and what will they see?   Lots of wonderful times, and I won’t be in the pictures with them.   They will know that there mom was there, but she was either taking the pictures or making herself busy away from the camera so she wouldn’t be in front of the lens.  They will know that she didn’t want to be photographed because she wasn’t happy with her appearance.   All those years of avoiding the camera will lead to the inevitable  collection of family pictures with mom missing.   All the family vacations and outings, the Birthday parties and Christmas mornings and Forth of July, the days on the beach and the hikes in the mountains and no pictures of mom.   A few here or there where she had been “unlucky” and caught on film – a couple big family group shots with mom standing behind someone else.   Stupid  – selfish –  vain.

At the time I was convinced I was fat and hated this picture.

It is really rather silly of me to care so much that I don’t look perfect in pictures.   I know I am not the only one to feel this way.   The “Dove: Real Beauty Sketches”  was passed around and viewed so many times because it said something that so many women know is true, “we are our own worse critics.”  Strangers don’t care about the fat or the wrinkles or the bad hair days.   The people who love us don’t see that about us.  They see their friend, their mother, their sister, their wife — they see the love and friendship.  The oddest things is that when I look at pictures from years ago I am much happier with what I see.   I was younger, fitter, more beautiful than I remember feeling I was.   In twenty years I will likely look back at today with  every bit as much fondness.  Whatever the future holds the truth is that I will be older and the children will grow up.   I will remember these days fondly as love every moment of being in this phase of my life.

I love the photos I have been scanning in of my grandparents and parents.   My grandparents are all gone, but in these photos are so many memories of them young and happy.   I look at these pictures and see people who love me and it is a blessing to have these pictures.   The children have been loving seeing there grandparents as young adults and me and their uncle as small children.  When I look at these pictures memories of my childhood come flooding back and that is a joy. The only thing I achieve in  my camera shyness is making sure that those memories aren’t around for my children.

It is a bit vain that I think I should present some perfect visage.   I am what I am and while bits of that could change I shouldn’t let my fear of people seeing me as less than perfect get in the way of living  fully and sharing who I am with my friends and family.  In the case of pictures   I shouldn’t let this vanity rob me and my children and those who love me of the joy of those snap-shots and memories.

So, for me no more excuses on this.   I need to accept who I am (not a fashion model)  and allow myself to live  in the moment wrapped in the love of my husband and my friends and my children and my family.   I am strong and full of joy and don’t need to let insecurity or vanity  creep in and steal any more happy memories.


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