When I see my fifty-something self in pictures, I cringe and my inner voice says, “Yikes, who is the chubby lady?” The ironic thing is that I use to be a teenage-fashion model. When I was very young, thin and FABULOUS, I looked at pictures of myself, cringed, and my inner voice said, “Yikes!” I’ve seen this thing from both sides now – through the eyes of an underweight, insecure fashion model – and through my plus-size post-menopausal goggles. Most of us women – young or old – thick or thin – aren’t happy with the way we look in pictures.
My little one-year-old grandson, Abel, recently FaceTimed me to show me he got the picture I sent him when I was away on a trip. He held it up and said, “Grandma! Grandma!” He was so excited to have a photo of me to carry around. And I almost hadn’t sent it, because I don’t like the way I look. AND… I DON’T LOOK LIKE I USED TO LOOK. My body hasn’t been the same since my thyroid decided to go on a permanent vacation, Rheumatoid Arthritis took up residence in my joints, and pain became my constant companion. That’s not an excuse, just a list of facts, which I am working on overcoming with the aid of my doctor, nutritional help and daily walks. My fatty liver even longs to be thin and healthy again.
Because I don’t look perfect, I have to mentally say, “Get over yourself” when I get in the picture. I know it’s not just leftover mental baggage from working in the fashion industry because I have many non-model friends who can’t stand to see themselves in photos and won’t be tagged on Facebook.
Very few people want a profile picture that would allow them to be recognized if they entered a room.
We are a generation of people that don’t want to look like ourselves. Everyone talks about getting “REAL”, but not about our looks. Reality is taboo.
My eight-year-old granddaughter, Ever, was looking at an old modeling photo that I had out. She pondered over it for a long time and said, “You look familiar.” Yes, that insecure teenage girl is in here somewhere horrified by the numerous fat cells I’ve collected like tea cups, the double-digit size of my jeans, and the double-chin that refuses to take a good selfie. As a grown adult, I refused to be bullied and beat up by MYSELF. I spent my teenager years hating myself for not looking perfect AND I don’t have time for that again. Excuse me, while I go find my iPhone, I feel a selfie coming on and I want to be “IN THE PICTURE.”