Not A Grateful Post

This is not a grateful post ... although I could honestly say I'm grateful to have read the article I was directed to on Facebook of all places. Not that I don't derive some honest amusement, enjoyment, and sometimes even knowledge, from some of the links that are shared on Facebook, but I also know that a lot of what is shared does not come under the 'edifying' category.

So why did this article receive more than a fleeting glance? Because it addressed something I struggle with daily ... and I know it's something at least one of my grandmothers struggled with.

I have so few photos that include my maternal grandmother. She would hide whenever the camera came out and I could never understand that. I saw a beautiful woman, aging gracefully, and someone who loved me unconditionally. I loved her and couldn't understand why she was so ashamed to be captured on film (as it was in those days).

Fast forward thirty or so years and her granddaughter is exactly the same. I hate being photographed and can spend valuable time crying over photos. My grandmother didn't have to contend with digital cameras -which are both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because you're not wasting valuable money developing film for photos that are worthless (you know what I mean: heads chopped off, blurry, etc); a curse because everyone seems to have one and they click away quite happily without worrying about whether the capturee is pulling a strange face mid-conversation/eating/other action. Most of the time, the person being captured electronically doesn't even have a chance to compose themselves and think how to put their best side forward (or even take a deep breath and sit/stand up straight).

Perhaps, more than most, I have reason for complaint. My image is often captured at work in the most unflattering of poses. My sons seem to take delight in doing the same at home. Add to that, arm fat, tummy rolls, wrinkles, a face (and let's be honest and add body) that is heading south, grey hair, and a less than perfect figure (strange how those proportions that were so attractive when we were teens, seem to settle into less than pleasing proportions once we've got a few babies/years under our belts) and you begin to understand why I hate having my photo taken.

And yet if I'm to take to heart this article, by avoiding the camera, for whatever reason, I'm preventing the camera from capturing my life - our life - as it is now. I am living now - I belong in this family just as much as the next person - and, okay, I don't have the flawless skin and hair of my granddaughters (but I once did) or the gorgeous figures of my daughters-in-law (there was a time when I didn't even mind being photographed in a bathing suit), or even my sons' incredible good looks (where do they think they got them from) but when my family look at photos, do they see all my flaws, or do they see a woman who loves them, who delights in them, who thinks she is the most blessed woman on earth because she belongs to them (and them to her)?

And if that's what they see, is it fair to deprive them of the capture of those memories?

Probably not.

It's something I'm trying to work through now. As a step towards that acceptance I post the following less-than-perfect photos:

(Look and laugh ... I can't promise I will keep these pics up indefinitely.)


busymomof10 said…
You are far too hard on yourself! You are Beautiful!
Jules said…
Thank you busymomof10 (and nice to see you).

I think that was the point I was trying to make: we as women are too hard on ourselves. Others look at us and see the person they love; we see that we're not the eighteen-year-old we sometimes still feel. I could point out at least half a dozen flaws in each of those photos but the thing is, I'm the only one who sees them and cries over them. My family just see Me.
Ohtawen said…
I think it's all right that you've written a not so grateful post, because it's something you had to take off your chest. I guess we are our own worst critics, and not necessarily only in the physical aspect.

I really don't notice any flaws in the photos you've posted... But I suspect I wouldn't be saying that if I were looking at my own photos. Luckily, I don't get photographed a lot, so I don't struggle with photos that much :)
Jules said…
Well Ohtawen, I'm sure you're too hard on yourself. Besides, at your age you should look naturally beautiful. Thing is, I didn't appreciate it when I was younger either. Your hair alone is strikingly beautiful.

I end up in a lot of photos at work and try not to use the ones of me that I think look really bad. But then I'm depriving the children and their families of what is often a very special memory - the moments we shared together. I build strong relationships with the children and their families but they rarely see any photographic evidence of those moments. Same at home. Doesn't help that I tend to be the one with the camera - obviously need to address this.

Seriously, we all need to see ourselves as God has created us and realise that we are beautiful. Incredibly so.
Ohtawen said…
Thank you for your kind words :) To be totally honest, I don't dwell on my appearance too much. I know I'm not a looker, as it's called, and in the last few years, a curious change has happened - I no longer consider it a misfortune or wish for things to be different. I think I have completely realized that we can never know in advance if something is fortunate or unfortunate, so I have put those decisions into the Lord's hands :)

I think your situation is different because you get photographed a lot. I cannot imagine that, because in my family we don't get cameras out very often. But I am really impressed that you are so willing to let your apprehensions go because of a higher goal. That's so wonderful of you :)
Debora Hoffmann said…
Beauty. That's what I see in these images of you. Your eyes are shining, caring, and kind. You are loving. You are loved. Thank you for sharing them. Blessings! ~Debbie (Inch by Inch)