I have never liked to have my picture taken. Or at least, not since I became aware of my appearance. I think I was all of ten when I realized that I didn’t quite fit the American Cutie mold. My glasses were a little too thick. My hair was a little too long. And I, of course, was just a little too round.
So I hid from the camera whenever possible.
There were exceptions, of course. There are lots of pictures of me at prom. And at my wedding. There are even a few of me from the days after I gave birth to Tori that I’m proud of. But those occasions are few and far between.
And when candid shots were taken? I usually shuddered with horror at the results. No matter how thin (or fat) I was, I could always find fault. My belly pooched. My zits showed. This one made me look like a wrinkled mess. That one made me look like the Wicked Witch of the West.
You get the idea.
But then, about two and a half years ago, I got to be part of a “professional” photo shoot. There was a makeup artist. A photographer’s assistant. Even a fan to blow my hair strategically. The results were awesome. This is the one I’ve been hiding behind ever since.
But you know what? I don’t really look like that anymore. My hair color’s changed (to better hide the gray). A few new lines have popped up. And, of course, I’ve packed on a few pounds.
So yesterday, I did something I’ve never attempted before. I took pictures of myself. Pictures I intended to share with others. Strangers, even. But even as I held down the shutter, I fully expected to be disappointed with the results. To be ashamed of what “the real me” has to say for herself.
But I wasn’t. It seems that, after 34 years, nine months and 18 days, I’ve made a kind of peace with myself. Because this mug? Is pretty much alright with me.
Those eyes are the same ones that stare back at me from my daughter’s face.
That nose is the same one that makes her giggle when I beep its mirror image.
Those wrinkles are the result of a lifetime of joy and sorrow, laughter and tears.
This face has gotten older. It has battle scars and worry lines.
It’s no beauty contestant’s face.
But it’s mine, and I’m proud to be me.
How’s that for maturity?