"That's fine, baby, but make sure I'm not in it."
"Come on," he whines, drawing out the last word in a huff of exhalation.
"Okay, fine," as I acquiesce, knowing full well that once we've taken the picture of ourselves, I'll go into the camera app and delete it.
In this picture I'm the slightly
more girly version of SNL's Pat.
When I think of myself as a child, this is who I see.
|Not the puffy sleeves!|
On the scale of "how much do I hate pictures of myself?" where on the low end is "waking up on a Monday" and the high end is "George Bush/Hilary Clinton", I'm at eleventy. That's right...it's that high.
Not having pictures never bothered me really. I figured not liking pictures would be one of those charming idiosyncrasies that others would find mildly irritating but affectionately accept. Sure, I'd give in semi-graciously at weddings (since those are, I'm told, supposed to be about the happy couple, not me) but that'd be it. Some day, when I'm dead and scattered ashes, my younger relatives would say, "Grandma? Aunt Timberly? Oh, she kind of looked like her sisters but we don't really have any pictures of her." I'm okay with that. Memory would treat my looks more kindly than photographic proof.
|This is my dad's happy face |
for photos. It's mine, too.
- One picture with my oldest son as a newborn
- One muddy picture taken at 9 months pregnant with #2
- One from my oldest child's baptism and First Communion
- One from my oldest child's first visit to Santa
- Two church directory photographs that are filed away
When it comes to pictures of me with my friends, the albums are similarly bare. This summer I stepped out of a picture with two friends after a half-marathon because I didn't want a picture taken of me salty and sweaty. To my four-month-younger self, I guess I can only say this:
|I let some stranger take this picture but|
I've hidden it almost 2 years.
You just ran 13.1 miles after an injury that kept you down for 8 months, you ran it with two friends on a beautiful course where you were served cake, and it doesn't matter how much your running pants made your legs look like sausage, be fucking grateful that you could run 13.1 miles with two friends who still acknowledge knowing you almost 20 years after college. Get back in that god-damned picture."
When I look at the one photograph of my mother and me as a baby, what I see is a much younger version of my mom who looks just like any mom: sleepy, unbrushed hair, wearing a nightgown, looking at her chubby baby. I see affection, nothing else. When I look at the few pictures that exist of me with friends, I see friendship and affection and youth. (Even now when we think we're old some days, we're all still young.)
But without the pictures, there is nothing.
I don't know how much realizing this will change how I feel about my looks. With every picture, I
|I think I was trying to catch the skylight so I looked|
angelic in this picture. (Looks lie.)
But in these pictures with my friends and, more importantly, my kids, I don't know that how I look matters to anyone except for me. And it matters more to me that I have memories than I look good. So I guess that means I'll be in more pictures. And maybe I'll even post them.
(Although if anyone can help pose me for photos so I look good for those memories, that'd be awesome.)