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 Â 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 readersÂ tended to enjoy the â€œfun with Photoshopâ€ versions I did or seeing my disco days or just that seeing me in normal circumstances with my Â 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 itâ€™s had an unexpected impact.
I never liked the way I looked in pictures. Ever. Iâ€™m not sure if Iâ€™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 Â with one flex. Not that I ever showed them muchâ€¦. Itâ€™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 donâ€™t like the way I look in pictures. My immediate response Â is Â â€œYuck!â€ but sometimes, after a while, Iâ€™ll decide itâ€™sâ€¦sortaâ€¦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 Â who Â offered Â to Â draw Â me. Â No, Â no. Â Very Â tasteful. Â Fully clothed and all that. Â He asked several times, and every time, I declined. He was an artist and a musicianâ€”a drummer and bass guitaristâ€”and though I liked him very Â much, we really didnâ€™t have anything in common and I rarely laughed Â 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 didnâ€™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 wasnâ€™t good or because we might not date again, but instead, because I Â felt Â self-conscious, fat, and ugly. The â€œfatâ€ part always amazes my teens, who are incredibly skinny and yet canâ€™t fit into the clothes I was wearing in my late 20â€™s when I felt bad about my weight.
Thatâ€™s been changing over the past few years. Iâ€™m getting happier, more accepting of my physicality. Surprisingly, reviewing both old and current photos is helping and Iâ€™m finding the positives in them. Sometimes itâ€™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.