Mum’s in the picture…
I absolutely hate having my photo taken. Hate, hate, hate. I do everything I can to avoid it. I take photos, and then shuffle off inconspicuously when it comes time to join in the shot. Sound familiar? I’m betting that there are a fair amount of women (mothers in particular) reading this right now who are nodding in agreement.
We think we’re waiting until we’ve lost that last 5kgs, or have a better outfit on, or have done our hair, our makeup. We think that all of that will make us happy with our appearance and we’ll get that miraculous perfect photo – the one we’ll happily use as our profile pic on facebook, the one that we’ll look at and not pick ourselves to pieces – why was I making that face/I should just throw those jeans out/I need to sit up straighter. Yes?
It’s all complete rubbish though. Do me a favour….find a photo of you pre-kids. Pre-hubby. Not a wedding photo, or a staged one, but a candid photo taken of you in a moment in time when you were young, happy, full of life. Do you remember the way you hated that photo when you were younger? You rolled your eyes when you saw it, or shrieked with your friends about what a terrible picture it was. Now look at it. Look at you. Weren’t you lovely? How does looking at that photo make you feel? Go past the little smile that hovers when you remember those carefree times and sit with it for a bit longer. Do you feel a small sense of sadness that the girl you are looking at doesn’t properly appreciate just how beautiful she is – how youth gives her a glow that she doesn’t know enough to notice, how her strong body is yet unmarred by carrying children but she doesn’t see just how gorgeous it is. Do you want go back in time and tell her to revel in it while she can? To enjoy what she’s got while she’s got it?
Now think about yourself as you are now. Ok, we’ve all got those bits that we’d like to work on, but here’s my point….we are younger and stronger than we will be 10 years from now. I can just about hear you thinking “thank you Captain Obvious”. I’m pretty certain though that in 10 years, we’ll look back at photos taken of us now (if we’ve managed to have one or two sneak through our super-camera sense) and feel a lot kinder towards our ‘now’ selves in much the same way we do with our younger selves.
When my mum died we made a photo board. I know how much she hated having her photo taken and there weren’t enough for us to choose from, to look at and remember her wide smile and her sparkling blue eyes. The photos of her (the same one that she despised) are beautiful. I look at them and don’t see an unfortunate expression caught on camera, or how she was snapped mid-word with her mouth wide open showing her back teeth. I see my Mum, who I miss more than anything and I smile because they remind me how she was so full of life and never stopped talking, except to laugh a full-bodied laugh which resonated and echoed….and when I die, I need my children to have those photos, those memories…in spite of terrible expressions and unfortunate poses.
So I’m making a vow. I’ll be in front of the camera. I won’t back away when the camera comes out. My children deserve it, but so do I! Will you join me? xx