If you’ve been avoiding mirrors, any reflective surfaces and photos - especially, photos! - then you know the season of hard-to-avoid well-meaning family photos is coming.
Sparkly, shiny lights! The Tree (with a capital “T”!). Tangerines.
And a well-meaning relative who manages to take a photo of you at the table, before you have a chance to conveniently disappear to freshen up, to check on the turkey, to open the door for the next guest, to mop the toilets right NOW - anything.. anything! To not be in that photo.
Maybe, you were caught leaning over your plate mid-bite.
Or, you are talking to your mom, and your mouth is open, and you are both laughing, but you can’t help but worry about the way your belly hangs over the waistband of your jeans.
Or, maybe, it was a group shot, and you WERE prepared - you twisted your torso just so, brought your shoulders back, sucked your stomach in, and lifted your chin slightly.
It’s no use.
You’ve been captured.
You’ve been shot.
The flash feels like a bullet.
You know how this goes.
The day after the holiday gathering, your Whatsapp / FB messenger / app of choice lights up with the rectangular thumbnails.
Here’s the festive table.
Here’s three cousins hugging in front of a tree.
Here’s your uncle serving punch.
And here’s THAT photo.
The photo that’s making your cheeks burn.
That’s making you question everything.
That’s undermining the joy of holidays you’ve been feeling only moments ago.
There is this strange disconnect between who you know yourself to be, who you FEEL yourself to be in your bones, and this person in this photo. She looks familiar, but… that’s about it.
The antidote is not to become smaller for the future camera.
Not to avoid photos forever.
The antidote is to find a photo of yourself, glowing with joy, sparkling with that “you-ness”, and keep it front and centre. The photo of yourself NOW - not pre-children, not five years ago, not “that one time we went to Hawaii”. Now - in the middle of the daily routine / grind / drudgery - a walk in the park, breakfast on Tuesday. In the middle of something you enjoy.
I’ve been looking for such a photo today, and it took a LOT of scrolling.
It’s been months.
These days I’m blonde and eyelashed.
These days I smile with my lips. I am content, but I am also tired.
It’s not the same.
I think I need more “giggly” and less “resting bitch face”.
I could use some SQUEALIIINGGGGGGG.
But it’s not really about trying to giggle, and try to capture THAT on camera (although I am giggling just thinking about that scenario). It’s about doing more things that elicit giggling naturally.
That sounds like a great goal for December, as we wrap up the year.
Do more things that elicit giggling.
And take pictures.
That feels right.