Why not now?
I have noticed, over the years, a strange phenomenon that takes place. It has to do with my pictures.
I’m not photogenic. Not even a little. I know that several of you will sweetly Facebook and message me to dispute this, but it’s true none the less. There are several, scientifically proven reasons for this fact.
First, my facial bone structure. It’s well document that people with more angular bone structures are considered more photogenic. This is not me. Along side this, cameras pick up fewer dimensions than the human eye. So, I can look at the mirror with a degree of relative satisfaction, walk away and have my picture taken, and feel like the picture doesn’t represent what I saw just moments ago in the mirror, because it doesn’t, not really. Lastly, I can never quite pull off the look that I’m going for. No matter how hard I try, it’s just never perfect. (That last one isn’t scientific, it’s just true.)
So, I’m not really a picture person. I’ll take one or two when absolutely necessary and I do try to be a good sport, but I rarely volunteer. The “selfies” that I post are usually the best out of ~267 attempts. When I take one with my nieces or nephews, I’m always holding them from running away begging, “I know, I know, just one more!”
But, the strange phenomenon is this: I find that the older the picture is the more I like it.
Now, there are some notable exceptions, such as “the awkward years”, otherwise known as 1994-2006 – most of which have been destroyed to prevent blackmail or humiliating wedding slideshows. But aside from that, I find that when I’m looking back at younger me, I’m much more kind.
Gone is the nitpicking of, “look at those 3 strands of hair that are sticking out” or “UGH I hate my jaw line” or “Man I wish I had started that diet 6 months ago”. All of a sudden, pictures I specifically remember hating don’t look quite so offensive. My view expands past that zit my makeup barely covered and I can look at the people I’m with; remembering that visit back to Binghamton, or the time when my sister had cancer and we spent Mother’s day with her at the beach. I remember thinking my hair looked ridiculously frizzy in that picture, but now I can’t see what was so bothersome about it…
I’m even beginning to see changes in more recent photos, and videos too! I look at some of the songs I’ve recorded and think, “Man! I was so stressed about my makeup that day and thought it looked horrific, but really it was fine!” or “I hated the way my elbow looked in that one… but that’s kind of silly isn’t it.” I think about how I don’t like pictures of me when I’m really, full out laughing. But rather than focusing on how my eyes get too small and how 4 years of braces actually ruined my smile, I’m choosing to remember how happy I was right then.
I’ve started to wonder, if I can look back and extend love to who I was in that moment, why can’t I apply that love to this picture I’m taking right now? This one right here? Or what about that one someone will snap of me at the next event I play for? Or what about that one without makeup…
What if I saw now what I’ll look back and see in a few weeks, or a few months or years from now? What if I let myself like me now, with however much weight I’d like to loose or when my makeup isn’t on point, or when someone snaps a picture from that dreaded low angle (and then, in a moment of obvious insanity publishes it on social media)? (Why do people do that!?! Ahem… anyway.)
What if I gave myself the grace I extend to others? It’s rare that I look at a picture of someone else and think, “Man, they look rough!” That almost never happens. By far the greater response is, “Ooh! Look! A picture of someone I love! I’m so happy to see them!”
What would change if I was able to say that very same thing to myself? Or better yet, seeing myself through God’s love! “Hey look, there’s a woman who delights God! Someone who he loves and who bring him joy!
(That’s what my name means, by the way, “source of the Father’s joy”. It’s a good name, my dad picked it.)
What if I let myself be who I am, a source of joy, not just to others but also to myself? Extending grace for imperfections and seeing myself through the eyes of Love instead of criticism?
I doubt I’ll ever be a professional model, but I’m working toward willingly taking a few family pictures for posterity’s sake. Let’s start there and see what happens.