I hate having photos taken of me, always have, probably always will. I will never be the girl who sits there, making sure her lighting is good then snaps a selfie. Oh, all while practicing her best sexy-pout-duck-lips like a Kardashian. Hell, no one can do that better than the ducks—so why even compete? I’ll never understand the methodology behind it.
I get so much anxiety when it comes to photos.
I am pretty certain my face will ruin every picture. That I will see some imperfection–a blemish, a wrinkle, a what-was-I-thinking-when-I-smiled-that-way smile — that I will hate and have to delete the entire photo on account of my-face-just-not-cooperating. I call it a flash hangover. It’s that moment after a picture is snapped where your immediate visceral reaction is regret, remorse—oh damn, that has got to go. Delete.
Here’s the catch, my husband loves to take photos.
He’s borderline artsy-fartsy that way and maybe even talented—okay, definitely gifted. He also likes to take a lot of pictures when we are out together as a family. I know, how disgustingly normal of him! Now, this is how I overcome the side effects of the flash hangover.
Anxious thought: I must get my hands on that picture NOW and delete it before it is released into this world.
How I deal with it: I avoid the urge to purge said photo. I don’t look at the picture right away.
I find looking at the photo out of context makes it easier to focus on what makes the photo great–like how much we were are all enjoying whatever activity we were participating in. I check out how genuine the picture is, instead of being critical of myself. The picture eventually grows on me.
Anxious thought: I must make a funny face so I ruin the picture because it will inevitably happen anyway. It’s self-sabotage as a means of protection. Similarly, I was the first date queen because it’s so much easier to reject someone right away, then to get rejected by them or let them in and get your heart broken.
My solution was to do us both a favor and never give us a chance. If the photo is ruined already then, I can’t ruin it by trying to look good and failing. My go to: It’s either stick your tongue out or the what-the-bejesus-am-I-supposed-to-do-with-my-hands-to-not-look-awkward? Advice: Jazz hands are never the solution.
How I deal with it: I remind myself that I am setting an example for my daughters.
They don’t want to see their mommy with a goofy face in every picture. I am not Miley Cyrus either, and even on her, after a while, it was like, girl put your tongue back where it belongs, please. I want my daughters to be confident, sure of who they are. I want my girls to believe in themselves and never hide from a flash out of insecurity.
Benefits of a good photo: A memory beautifully captured.
So this woman, the one in the above photo, will smile for the camera and accept herself entirely as she is. Because she is more than a picture: she is a mother, a role model above all else. Picture Advice: Duck lips and good lighting don’t make you sexy, self-acceptance does.
This post originally appeared on the author’s Facebook.