Yeah, I'm pretty confident most of the time. But if someone pulls out a camera I will tuck and roll faster than if someone had just laid down cover fire. I have mad photo evasion skills.
I don't know when my cameraphobia started. Maybe when someone took a picture of me in my little toddler bikini around the age of 4 or 5 and nobody happened to notice that the bikini top was slid way over and a whole nipple was showing. I spent the rest of the day with my hand on my heart like an awkward pledge of allegiance. Or maybe it was that mullet I received right before 2nd grade pictures? I have no idea. I just know I hate cameras. Unfortunately that means there are very few pictures of me around. I was always behind the camera, taking pics of the kids.
In an attempt at "therapy" I hired a photographer friend to do a shoot with me. She does beautiful work and I would recommend her to anyone. Aside from her talent she loves what she does and I believe that makes all the difference. If you are looking for a photographer here in Minnesota, you must contact Erin Zemanovic Photography. This picture is my favorite. I look so deep in thought. More than likely I'm thinking, "I wonder if that place over there serves wings?"
But armed even with a bunch of Facebook worthy photographs I still hate the camera. And I honestly don't think the pics truly look like me. They are much too pretty and I don't do pretty. I love them, but I don't see me. And that's not Erin's fault. You know what I see most of the time when I look at pictures of myself or I look in the mirror? This:
That was me for so long that I have a hard time getting my mind around anything else. I don't think of myself as pretty. You know how people always describe an attractive overweight person by saying, "She's got such a pretty face"? I always got, "She's got a great personality." God, that's like the curse of death when someone is avoiding the topic of your appearance.
Sure I can seem confident when I go out to the right bar. But heels, a cocktail, soft lighting, a room full of beer goggles and Marvin Gaye will make everyone feel like a sexy beast. True story.
But overall I'm not confident in the way I look. I never have been. And a secret they don't tell you about losing a considerable amount of weight - sometimes it makes you hyper critical. I avoided mirrors and cameras so much that it became a non issue. As I was losing I started paying super close attention, searching for any sign of a change in my body. Seeing every flaw close up after avoiding them forever. Add to that all the stretch marks and loose skin from damaging your body for so long and it's a recipe for disaster. Nothing makes you feel more attractive than getting to your goal weight and realizing you look like a menorah on day 8 and there is no amount of exercise or perfect nutrition that will remedy that.
This morning on the news I saw a segment about a college girl, Stella, who bravely had a photograph of her in her underwear posted online with a big middle finger to all those that hurt her or made her feel bad about her body. I think she is amazing and I wish I had her courage to just say, "Fuck it. This is me and I'm beautiful." It was suggested to me that I could conjure up the same confidence if I "fake it till I make it". I could just post some pics of myself in the same manner and be an inspiration to all my friends.
Um, hell no. Hell-to-the-No. No one wants to see that. And let's not even discuss the fact that I have young boys who would be traumatized someday by the whole idea. I just can't. I wish I could. But no. Posting my before pics is about as brave as I'll ever get and you don't even want to know the anxiety I have about it right now. And don't assume this post is about fishing for compliments because anyone that knows me knows that I am the absolute worst compliment acceptor in the entire world. I suck at it.
I am actively working on changing my thinking about myself and my body. I want to think of myself as beautiful and I want to encourage everyone else to do the same. But I can't post that kind of picture and I have no one to give the big middle finger to about making me feel bad about myself except for me. So for now I will use my words to work on this rather than photography and leave the other method to Stella.
I won't promise I'll always have pants on when I write, though.
“Just give me a thousand words and you may make your own pictures.”- Erica Goros