Last week I had a long conversation with our family photographer, Laura at Linden Photography, about women and their (generalized) lack of self confidence when it comes to having their photographs taken. It was an awesome conversation, the kind that keeps you thinking for a long time after. It also really brought into focus the fact that I am almost always the person behind the camera. 18 or 20 years from now when Liam hopefully has some sort of interest in his early childhood and is looking at all of these pictures I have taken he will see a ton of him with his Grammies, Grampies, Da, Aunts, Uncles and Cousins… what he won’t see a ton of are pictures with me. Part of that is because I am typically the person behind the camera, the one capturing the action. Another reason is because I am also the person in charge of editing… and I usually hate the way I look in pictures. That is right I used the H word.
Laura has teamed up with a local makeup artist and has created a day of pampering and empowerment for women that includes a makeover and portrait session. She is encouraging women to come in groups, bring their mother, sister, best friend, third cousin twice removed that you happen to be very close to, and allow themselves to relax, enjoy the moment, and remember how awesome they are. Every single woman is beautiful in their own way, but we all have our hang ups. These hang ups are reinforced by a society obsessed with perfection and unrealistic ideals. They are then repeated to our children over and over again without us even being aware of it. I can not even begin to count the number of times this week that I have thought to myself, “I really need to lose some weight, I am so fat!”. The reality of the situation is that I am actually pretty well balanced with my weight… but I can’t seem to get out of the endless loop of thinking because my thighs touch and my stomach is somewhat rounded I do not look good enough. The fact of the matter is, I do.
I look like a Mom. Sometimes I look a little over tired, sometimes my face is shiny, sometimes my gray hair is exceptionally noticeable, and sometimes you can see that roll of extra skin through my shirt. All of these things are parts that make up the whole, and all in all I am pretty okay with who I am. If there are bags under my eyes it’s probably because I had just put in a 16 hour day of playing the roll of Mom and the roll of nurse. If my face is shiny it might be because I just spent an hour helping someone’s loved one in a critical moment, assessing and treating within my scope of practice or holding their hand and helping to comfort them as they embark on their next journey. If you can see that roll of skin through my shirt its because I just worked 4 ten hour shifts in a row without a break and forgot to hydrate the entire time until my nurse-y partner gently reminds me that coffee is not the only beverage in the world.
I am not perfect, and never will be… but I am me. So The Selfie Project is this: for the next 365 days I am going to take a selfie a day, most of them will include Liam… but they may occasionally guest star some other people in my life. This visual road map of the next year will be preserved for Liam when he gets older and will hopefully help me build up more acceptance in the way that I look in pictures (note: I originally typed “on film”… that would be me showing my age). Liam deserves to have a record of me, good days and bad, to look back on because I am proud of who I am and I hope some day he will be too.
I encourage anyone and everyone to steal this idea for their own blogs, and if someone else had the idea first and I am inadvertently taking it, sorry, my inspiration came from a different place. I am going to start off with a bang today and post three selfies (shiny pre-shower skin and all), then I am going to email Laura to set up my own day of pampering!