Monday, October 11, 2010

Who Am I? 4

So the other day I decided to do my hair and make up for a girls night out with my 2 crazy aunts (crazy in a GOOD way) and my cousin. I had a great time. And b/c my hair and make up were being shockingly cooperative I came home, touched up the make up a notch or two to high glamour levels and then took a bunch of pictures of myself with my camera (*cough149photoscough*) which sounds so completely self absorbed but I swear thats not what its about.

I'm building a webpage (I know I've been at it FOREVER but we're not discussing that right now m'kay?) and I don't like the headshot I have for it. I'm wearing white and I'm generally of the opinion that I should like, never, ever wear white. Mostly b/c I'm such a glow in the dark mighty whitey that I match the white shirt. So we decided to take 5 million pics of ourselves in the hope that maybe, just maybe, ONE of them would turn out acceptable enough to go on the profile. Yes it is a business, but its an artist business so it can be a bit different.

SO point of this whole shinola is that I posted a selection of these pictures to Facebook to solicit opinions from friends there. And I'll go into their responses in a bit but to my shock and amazement one of my photographer/artists friends (the Amazing Lori) emailed me with one of my photos that she had played with in photoshop.

I'll give you a minute to digest that picture because I was in shock. I was absolutely delighted and thanked her profusely for doing such  sweet thing for me.

And I've spent the last several days staring at this picture trying to wrap my mind around it. Because once upon a time I really did think I was dog ugly. Then we worked our way up to "okay looking" and then "kinda pretty" and we're now generally of the opinion that for the most part I'm pretty. I can look better, maybe even striking if I actually bother w/ make up but "pretty" is pretty much the standard we've decided.

But this amazing photo that she edited for me is beautiful. So beautiful I have to remind myself that the woman in the picture is me. I've never, ever seen an image of myself of any kind that I could unequivocally call beautiful. And so I stare and try to comprehend the idea of "me" and "beautiful" being in the same sentence.

When I say I had "body image issues" that is such a dramatic understatement of who I used to be. I used to literally burst into tears at the sight of myself naked in front of a mirror. Hell, it happened w/ clothes on before.

I had started making fat jokes about myself in high school because if I did it first then the jerks would laugh and not bother to do it for me. Problem was, after a few years, I believed it. And that was amazingly damaging.

But thanks in large part to my husband I stopped the negative self talk (he refuses to hear me say bad things about his wife. lol) and that plus having this man in my life who does nothing but tell me how beautiful I am day in and out for several years now and having a few key conversations with various people about them never ever again saying anything to me about my weight on pain of my never talking to them again (shut up thats a threat not a favor).

I also decided that confidence is sexy. And I also wanted to avoid talking smack about myself in front of the hub, b/c he was the one man who seemed to not mind the fact that I was heavier than I wanted to be and I loved the way that he looked at me and I didn't want to talk him out of it. So that paired w/ the confidence is sexy idea basically lead me to a "fake it til you make it" policy for the last several years.

And shockingly enough - it has worked. I've made amazing strides in my self image. I can look in a mirror with out so much as wincing now. I can occasionally even really like what I see. Its a fragile image, I'm not sure how much it would stand up to abuse before it crumpled. But its there.

But this... Beautiful... this was a step I'd never considered. This picture.... My mother used to tell me when I was in grade school that the other girls were mean because they were jealous. I always chalked that up to "crap your mother has to tell you because she's your mom", but this picture? She may actually be right.

And its lead me to stare and wonder this question more than any other:

Is this what other people see when they look at me? 

And the responses I've gotten from people on Facebook and else where have been overwhelmingly positive. I've never been called sexy before so many times in my life. And I cracked up that I had a couple people comment that the one picture where I left my glasses ON was totally the "sexy librarian" look. Never, ever would have categorized myself that way before.

Its just been interesting and fascinating. And I just keep chasing this thought round and round in my head and staring at the picture trying to reconcile that beautiful woman with my own self identity.

If we're not facebook friends and you'd like to give me your opinion on the pics they're here:

Please keep in mind NONE of those are cropped or retouched in any way so the funky backgrounds and stuff are all super ultra fixable. So just look at the pose and the facial expression etc. Which ones do you like and why?


  1. Thank you Ruth! That means a lot coming from somebody as awesome as you are. :)