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I Want To Be Me

Tuesday, April 9, 2013
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. ;-)