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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I Want To Be Me

I just had an email exchange with someone wherein I mentioned how crappy I'd been feeling physically (and because of that, emotionally) lately. In the email, I said, "In the past, I've always been okay with myself, no matter what I looked like, but this winter has been hard on me..." Because I write full-time, I don't have to leave the house as often as I used to. And if you know me, you know I hate winters. Which means, I hibernate. And this winter, I hibernated mega hardcore. And I ate A LOT OF FOOD. And drank A LOT OF MOUNTAIN DEW.

Mountain Dew is my weakness! Tell me I'm not alone?

Directly after that email exchange, I went through the rest of the new emails that had popped in overnight. I signed up for a photography newsletter several months ago and the girl always puts out new videos every Tuesday that focus on business and marketing. But this particular video was about image and being real and confident in yourself.

And I realized something.

We all have our weak points. The things we are embarrassed about. The things that take our self-confidence down a notch or two.

We are all marvelous, weird, silly creatures and I am not alone in feeling awkward or lame or overweight or dorky at moments in my life.

To attest to that, I decided I wanted to share some images I'd taken in the last year or two---images that, to an outsider, looked like fine images, but to me reminded me of my double-chin, my chipmunk cheeks when I smile, my freckles, the weird dent in my nose. Images that show just how dorky I can be. How I don't always get my concept shoots right the first time.

Are you ready? Because I am. And it's all right to laugh at them. ;-) Because I did.


My husband helped me take my author photos last summer. And it was quite a hilarious experience. He's learning about photography, and lighting, and props. But sometimes I giggle too much while he's snapping pictures. Especially when he asked me to put this freshly picked daisy in my hair. I am not a daisy-in-the-hair kind of girl, but I realized, looking back on this image, to my husband, I am that girl. A bit carefree. Big-hearted. A pretty girl.

Moments later, he snapped this picture of me "posing". Maybe this should have been my author photo? ;-)


This next image is from a few months before the author shoot. I tried setting up a scene to take some pictures of my daughter. I wanted to have "laundry" billowing in the wind behind her. She didn't want to have any part of it. She wanted to chase the dog around the yard instead. So my husband grabbed the camera while I took down the "laundry" and he snapped this photo. I hated all of them in this set. I thought I looked fat. I thought my chin looked too big. But I'm smiling. And I'm happy. And my husband is making me laugh. And that's what makes this image something more than just an image. It's the kind of image I will carry with me as a memory. 

Last summer, I had this photo concept I wanted to try out in the water. Since we live so close to Lake Michigan, the husband and I planned to spend a few hours there trying out a few different things. I wanted to take some simple images of a figure floating in the water. In this instance, I am that figure, because I couldn't come up with a model on such short notice. My husband snapped I don't know how many images. And I hated all of them. I liked the water. The vibrant colors of the sun set in the background. But I hated the model. Here you can kinda see the dent in my nose. The dent! I've always hated the dent. But my husband has always loved it. Why, I often wondered? "Because it's cute," he said. And this is why I <3 the guy.


I like playing around with the concept of levitation in my images. This one was shot late last summer, I believe. This is the result of the shoot ---


In order to get that effect, I lay back on a stool, which I later photoshopped out. But have you ever tried to balance on a stool while whipping your hair around? It's hard work!

Which is why this happened:



This is me, falling off of said stool, caught on camera by the husband. 

And, again, on another levitation shoot. Husband wasn't quick enough to snap the actual falling this time!

Looking through these images today reminded me of something --- when I look at them, I hate them because of flaws I see in myself, but when we took the images, we were laughing. We were happy. I didn't care how I looked while taking the pictures. 

So if I take anything away from this day, from this post, it's this: I want to live more in the moment, rather than in the after-moment. The place in my head that picks apart everything about myself, my apperance. That somehow forgets the joy felt while taking the image, while creating those memories. 

I don't want to waste anymore time worrying about what I look like, or what people will think when they look at me, or images of me, or even images taken by me. 

I want to be me 100% of the time and no one else. 

And if you made it this far (I hope you did!), I'll leave you with a bonus image. Some of you may have seen this already, but it makes me giggle every time. 

My husband's blue steel look. Enjoy. ;-)


















42 comments:

  1. I LOVE MOUNTAIN DEW AS WELL! And Seven Up. Soda is THE BOMB. I love the photo of the hair whipping that has the stool that is photoshopped out!

    And that second one DEFINITELY should have been your author photo :D

    <3

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    1. YAY Mountain Dew! :-)

      And yes, I definitely made the wrong choice on author photos!

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  2. Really great post, Jenn, though I do agree you picked the wrong author photo. I think it really should have been the one of you falling off the stool. Nothing sells books like limbs growing in a field. ;)

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    1. Oh? Maybe you're right! I'll have to see if I can get that on my next book. ;-)

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  3. Love this. I think the laundry shot is really beautiful. My guy has infinite patience taking pictures of me, and has a knack for getting me in the right pose, but I wind up hating a lot of the pictures because I'm self-conscious when he takes them, which shows in my face.

    Here's to making gorgeous memories!

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    1. Amen! My husband has a lot of patience with me too when it comes to worrying about appearance. Love that guy. ;0)

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  4. I think all of those pictures are gorgeous! My favorite is that one of the levitation photo, lol! MOUNTAIN DEW IS MY WEAKNESS, TOO! You're gorgeous :) Love all the pictures and the article.

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    1. Ohhh Mountain Dew! Why do you taste so good? ;-)

      And thank you!

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  5. Jennifer - I found this because of a Tweet by Sarah Fine, and I'm awfully glad I did. Not only are you beautiful, your images (written and photographed) are beautiful beyond words. And yes, the pictures captured by your husband when you weren't really expecting him to snap the shutter are the most beautiful because they give us a glimpse into the love you share.

    Thanks for reminding the rest of us where real beauty can be found.

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    1. Thanks Barbara! And thanks for coming over and reading the post. It means so much! <3

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  6. Love this and totally want to collab on a shoot with you!!!

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  7. You really are a beautiful woman Jennifer, and these are beautiful words here. I can totally identify... Thankfully my photographer managed to hide most of my flaws in my author photoshoot, but I couldn't hide from the camera in our family shoot a few months later. I just cringed every time I looked at myself. I've been trying to adopt the same attitude, of loving myself no matter what I look like, but it isn't easy, is it?

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    1. Oh gosh, I hear you on the family photos. I try to get out of all of them, and when someone does happen to capture me, I'm like...UGH I DON'T WANT TO LOOK.

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  8. I absolutely love this post :) You are such a beautiful lady and I adore the daisy in the hair picture :) I love the title and concept too - I think that's something so many people need to work on (myself included) and it is a definite goal.

    PS I marvel at your photography talent toooo.

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    1. I <3 you.

      Thanks Erica, and thanks for reading!

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  9. I. LOVE. This.

    I know we've both discussed weight loss in the past, and I totally get I. So many times I look at pictures and just nit pick myself to death instead of remembering why I was making that odd face and just loving me for me. These photos are fantastic! I love the water one, and I think you look great!! The falling off the stool, yah those are classic!!

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    1. Yes! You and I understand each other totally. I wish we lived closer together so maybe we could be workout buddies! :-)

      And that falling-off-the-stool picture was hilarious while in action. I LOLd a lot.

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  10. I love you (even more) for this post! I've had days of feeling like this lately with this (first) pregnancy. Ppl might say I look cute, (and some others might talk about how they were smaller when they were pg), but all I can see some days is the difference in my belly and jean size. Some days, I need the reminder of this post. I need to live more in the moment during those times. And remember that it doesn't really matter anyway, b/c I get a beautiful baby girl in the end!

    Seriously though, I love this post. And I think that water floating picture is beautiful! (I also want to do a levitating shoot someday! That's be awesome!)

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    1. Yes, the weight you're putting on will definitely be worth it in the end! I can remember how hard it was to see my body changing while pregnant. More so the first time, because it was all so new to me. And the second time, it was kind of a free for all. Definitely regretting that now! I haven't really lost much of that weight since.

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  11. I like the laundry photo the best :-)

    P.S. My weakness is sugar-free cola ;-)

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    1. Cola/soda/pop is my BIGGEST weakness. I need to break it!

      And thank you! ;-) There's something extremely beautiful about laundry billowing in the wind, if you ask me.

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  12. Great post! You're so right about how we (esp. women) tend to focus on the flaws in ourselves. Love that levitation/hair whipping around photo, by the way. Would be the perfect cover for a spooky book...

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    1. Thanks Jody! I love the darker. moodier, edgier photos. I wish I could do more of them! They take a lot of brainstorming and photo processing. But I just love what comes out of them.

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  13. I love you. I think you are amazing and wonderful and uber talented at EVERYTHING.

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    1. I <3 you too. As I'm sure you know! Thanks lady!

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  14. I love this. These photos are awesome (and beautiful), as is your reflection on them.

    Everyone has photos of themselves they don't like (don't they?!) and I swear, I take one good photo for every 300. Seriously, we go on holiday and I come home and delete about 80% of the shots I'm in. Next time, I will genuinely try to find the happiness in them and get over myself ;)

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    1. 1 good photo for every 300 --- that's me. EXACTLY.

      And yes, definitely enjoy the vacation and enjoy the pictures that come out of them!

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  15. Lovely post. I tend to overthink these things too. I have a dent in my nose as well, so I'm always deleting the photos where I look like Owen Wilson. Though of course if you hadn't mentioned it, I wouldn't have noticed in the water photo--what a great shot.

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    1. Nose dents unite! Hah. :-)

      And thanks for reading Rachel!

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  16. I love the water picture and the first levitation picture (at first I didn`t even notice the dent, but you pointed it out). Nice post, Jenn, thank you for sharing!
    I used to be very self-conscious about my look (my nose and wide butt) and I didn`t want my sister to take a picture of me lower than my waist, but one day I decided that I don`t give a &%$# of how people would react or how I look. If I had a picture with really red cheeks, I just laughed at it and put it in my web album. People who know me already have seen me laughing with tomato red cheeks, so be it.

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    1. Such a good attitude to have! Some day you'll look back and be glad you have those images. Memories and moments are special! We should be thankful for them, instead of picking ourselves apart. ;-)

      Thanks for stopping by and reading!

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  17. You look so pretty in all of these pictures! Especially the laundry one. You are a beautiful lady- never forget that!

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    1. Thank you so much, Emily! That's so sweet of you to say. ;-) Thanks for stopping by and reading.

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  19. I have quite the same problem: I always think I'm ugly, I can't ignore the people staring at me, ... It's horrible! I always have something to criticize about myself, I often hate myself because I'm ashamed of what I look like, etc.
    But your post shows me that I'm not the only person that has to fight with this. Life is far too short to waste your time with such stubid criticizments, and now that I read this, I know I have to stop this criticizments. I will be hard, of course, but I will try.
    And besides, your photos are wonderful! I'm not saying that because I want to be kind, but because it is really true. You are a beautiful woman :) (just a question: what made is your camera? It takes so good pictures! I am asking this because I am also a passionate photographer :D)
    Please let nothing more take you down! :)

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    1. Hello Jade! Thank you SO MUCH for your kinds words! I think we all think we're less attractive than we actually are. So many insecurities we carry around. But I think it's more important to enjoy and live life, than to pick yourself apart. :-)

      As for my camera, I use a Canon Rebel T3. Hope that helps! Good luck with your own photographs!

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