Yesterday I was choosing pictures for my scrapbook. I tried hard not to pick any that made me look (particularly) fat and to find some that were (most) flattering.
I have always hated having my picture taken; not liking how I look. Too old, too fat, too tired, too pimply, too frizzy, too something. There are certainly photos of me as a kid, smiling and mugging for the camera. Probably I was too young to be self-conscious yet. I remember a conversation at a holiday gathering when I was in my teens and my uncle was trying to photograph me but I kept avoiding him. He told me, “Someday you are going to wish you were in the pictures.” He was right! I don’t know when the light bulb went off – probably when I had kids or when I started scrapbooking and realized how few family photos we had. But just because I want to be IN pictures doesn’t mean I like how I look in them!
A few years ago we had our first professional family photos taken while my son was having his senior portrait done. (Pathetic, I know.) I honestly told the photographer that my husband and I were both self-conscious about our weight and that we wouldn’t buy any shots that made us look fat. Can you believe that she actually told us how to hold our heads to minimize any double chin?
Over the years I have relied on various tricks to make myself look more acceptable (to me) in photos – stand with one leg in front of the other, hug closely to another person, actually put on mascara and eye liner, sit. Sometimes the tricks work; sometimes they don’t.
I suspect that I am too sensitive about what I perceive as my un-photographic self and a bit skewed in my perception of reality. My guess is that my family would look at pictures of me and see me differently than I see myself. I see the flaws before I see the memories. The new and improved me is going to just smile for the camera and say “(low-fat) cheese.”