Mr. Gaffigan* has a point up there. How many of us walk around feeling like we're all that and a bag of chips (mmmm chips…), and we either see a picture of ourselves or see ourselves in the mirror and we're like "Gah! Who IS that?!"? I know I've had those days. Lots, and lots, and lots of those days.
Shoot, I felt that way about some of my wedding pictures. Terrible, right? Greatest day of my life to date, I received tons of compliments and felt like a mermaid princess the day of, and I see certain pictures and my illusion was shattered.
It had absolutely nothing to do with my photographer, but with my own perception of myself.
It makes me wonder which matters more: how I actually look, or how I think I look. Does one matter more than the other? A friend of mine and I were talking about this article, as the author so eloquently states something so many women (and probably men!) can relate to:
"How is it possible that a double chin can overpower the beauty of a mother cuddling her child? How does arm fat distract from the perfect shot of a spontaneous hug? I swear y’all . . . how is it that we can put more value on a TUMMY ROLL than the captivating way you throw yourself into a roar of laughter during a shoot?"
I can't count the amount of pictures that I found adorable because of a friend I was with, and terrible because of my 6,000 chins ruining it. But did my friend see it that way? No, they saw a wonderful memory of 2 goofballs.
Did my family or friends look at any particular wedding picture and think "Geez. Heifer"? Well, hopefully not. My husband couldn't stop smiling, my parents lauded the happiness expressed between 2 weirdos who found each other in this big crazy world, and my friends were all overjoyed for us.
But sadly, we do it to ourselves, and I wonder if it's a type of self-defense mechanism. Maybe if we address what we think other people are thinking about us, it'll get the "awkward turtle" out of the way and we can move on. No? Just me? OK. I know I do it. It's why I used to make fat jokes about myself in college. If I say what I think you're thinking, it makes it OK.
Why can't we just look at a picture for what it is, be it 2 friends, a husband and wife, a friend with a baby, and love it for what it is? Don't sit there and pick apart what you think is wrong with yourself in it. Just love the moment it captured. Love that you have a tangible memory.
Oh, also, if someone catches a picture of you stuffing your gob with a cookie or brownie as it's prone to happen this time of the year, let it happen. Enjoy that darn cookie/brownie/cake pop. Be gentle with yourself. Anyone that's judging you isn't a true friend, and anyone that is a true friend is glad you had a good time.
So, my challenge for you dear friends, is to find a picture of a moment that you don't like of yourself. Look at it again, but look past whatever you think is "wrong" with it. Remember how you felt when it was taken. THAT is the point of a picture. Not to make you feel bad about yourself, but to make you feel good about your life.
*Note: Jim Gaffigan is a hilarious comedian and author that I love love love. I read his book, and it's as awesome as his stand-up is. Also, Jim (if I may), you should give me a thousand bucks for this unsolicited endorsement. It's just a thought.