Why You Should Exist in Pictures
Not just here in Colorado Springs but around the world women have an issue with comparing. I’m sure it even happens in those remote tribes we rarely hear about. This comparing leads to self hate, and self hate leads to not existing in photographs. Friend, I see you there cringing when I say you should be in pictures. I too was there once not believing I could ever be comfortable in front of a camera.
Can I share my story so you don’t feel so alone? I grew up being led to believe I was fat, and not good enough. That feeling of not good enough led to some dark days, but that’s a story for another time. I have very few images of my late teens and early twenties that include me. Then, I went on to have babies. We all know what children do to your body. I gained weight, stretch marks, and begun to pour myself into motherhood always putting myself last. Does that sound familiar? Cell phone cameras were a new thing and I was happy to snap away with these little humans I made and adored. A few of these images contained this woman that I didn’t recognize. I wasn’t happy with her invading my pictures. There were times my sweet husband would insist that this stranger get her picture taken too. That is the only reason she is in those images. Left up to her, she would happily be an enigma for those years.
One day I woke up and realized I was giving to everyone else but myself. What did I want from life besides a fancy car and a nice house? This landed me in school because no one wanted to hire a stay at home mom with no current work experience. After nearly a year in school I still was not feeding my soul so I purchased a big girl camera to be a creative outlet. Not only did I fall in love with photography, this little black box helped me fall in love with myself. In order to get better at using this thing, I would spend hour long sessions taking selfies. Most of them would be deleted, but a few of them, I couldn’t wait to show the man when he came home from work. I would stare at the images and be astonished that this was the same stranger from years ago, only better.
The more I practiced and learned, the better I got not just with my camera, but posing too. The better I got, the more I began to like myself. I started to see myself as those who loved me did. I could see what they saw in my eyes. This stirred something deep in my soul that brewed for a little bit of time until I felt called to show women this same transformation. My dream is for every woman on this planet to experience the same transformation.
What would happen if you unexpectedly passed away today? Would there be pictures of happy memories for your loved ones to cling to? I have come to realize it isn’t about the size of your thighs or how many chins you have, but just about showing up. If we are genuinely showing up for every moment of life, we will naturally be captured. I truly believe life is a gift and tomorrow is never guaranteed. They don’t care if you have no makeup on or are in sweat pants. Your loved ones just want to capture your spirit in that moment to create a memory. One day when you are old and gray, your children will want to remember that person you were during their growing up years. I am not saying anything that I haven’t already had to learn and experience. I speak these words because this was my own struggle and freedom on the other side is an amazing feeling. There are days when that voice tries to convince me to step out of frame, but I push forward anyways. Yes, even when a child is pointing the camera at a terribly unflattering angle. I would rather capture these moments and create a positive memory than allow my insecurities to manifest in them.
Sweet soul, are you holding back? Not wanting to be in pictures, I have come to learn means you are not living life to the fullest. Are there dreams you hold in your heart that no one knows about? Can we make an agreement we will be brave together? I’d love to say I have it all together, but I don’t. Sometimes I need someone to hold my hand and walk beside me too. Putting yourself in front of the camera is a huge step! I promise, the more you do it, the easier it becomes and it even manifests positively in other areas of your life. Think of it like cheap therapy.
My dream is for every woman to have an image of herself on a wall in her home. I know it sounds vain and weird because I felt that when I hung up a gynourmous image of myself in our entry way. I stood back and looked at it with the man’s arm around me silently crying. I could not believe that was me. ME! Will you find a picture of yourself that you love, print it, frame it, and hang it on your wall? It doesn’t have to be fancy. It just needs to be your beautiful face alone, on a wall you pass by. Trust me, there is something about seeing your own face printed on a wall. Can’t find any you like? Put on your favorite outfit, brush your hair and ask a friend to snap one. Even if this photo only ends up on a wall in your closet, that is success.
Comment below why you don’t like to see yourself in pictures.