Picturing Myself in a Different Way
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Separation.
My coach suggested back in October that I should post more pictures on my journal and websites, but I thought she meant it purely as a publicity thing. It did increase my feedback geometrically and some readers tended to enjoy the “fun with Photoshop” versions I did or seeing my disco days or just that seeing me in normal circumstances with my family or home made me more human. It was a hard step for me to take, putting old and current photographs out there for the world, but it’s had an unexpected impact.
I never liked the way I looked in pictures. Ever. I’m not sure if I’m happier with pics of me when I was overweight or pics of me when I was buff and could show you twenty different muscles in my bare back with one flex. Not that I ever showed them much…. It’s funny now that I put out a pic of me overweight, no makeup, sweaty-but-happy online long before I put my most athletic pics online.
I still don’t like the way I look in pictures. My immediate response is “Yuck!” but sometimes, after a while, I’ll decide it’s…sorta…okay and I could probably live with it if I had to.
One of my regrets is that I said no to a man back in college who offered to draw me. No, no. Very tasteful. Fully clothed and all that. He asked several times, and every time, I declined. He was an artist and a musician—a drummer and bass guitarist—and though I liked him very much, we really didn’t have anything in common and I rarely laughed around him. Something about him was too serious for our friendship to go anywhere. It seemed I could be playful with anyone but him, and he didn’t care for my poetry or my songs. He thought they were good but too serious. He was too much of a father-figure, I think.
But I turned down the offer to draw my portrait not be- cause he wasn’t good or because we might not date again, but instead, because I felt self-conscious, fat, and ugly. The “fat” part always amazes my teens, who are incredibly skinny and yet can’t fit into the clothes I was wearing in my late 20’s when I felt bad about my weight.
That’s been changing over the past few years. I’m getting happier, more accepting of my physicality. Surprisingly, reviewing both old and current photos is helping and I’m finding the positives in them. Sometimes it’s my figure at that time or my hair at that time or just a twinkle in my eye at that moment.
Self-acceptance is a strange thing, especially when you become easier on yourself as you get older.