I have never liked having my photo taken. I have written about the weakness I have on the left side of my face which gives me a bit of a lopsided mouth. I had it operated on a few years ago so it is much better than it was but I am still very self-conscious about it.
Throughout my childhood, I was bullied for the way I looked and one of the ways I coped was to avoid ever looking at myself and never, ever to have photos taken.
On Friday I had a day off work. I went to the gym and when I came back I showered and dressed and took some time to do my hair – I’m growing it and it is at a very tricky in between stage – and for once it looked OK. It was sunny and I was feeling OK so I decided to take a selfie. Just to see.
I have never taken a selfie before so ridiculous as it sounds, I didn’t really know how to do it. My daughter has since shown me that there is a button you press so that you can keep the screen pointing towards you and see what the photo will show. I didn’t know that so I ended up holding my phone, at arm’s length with the screen facing away from me. I had to hold the phone steady, look at the camera and try to press the button to take the photo without being able to see the screen. It’s hard to describe but rest assured I couldn’t have made it much trickier if I had tried !!
So I took some photos and I found myself saying things like “I’m sober and I feel great” and “eleven months sober -yay!” and smiling and clicking and actually having fun. And do you know what, in some of the photos I looked OK. Let’s really push the boat out – I looked GOOD. There, I said it.
In the photos I look relaxed and happy and I am smiling, really smiling, with my eyes. My mouth looks a bit wonky but it really doesn’t matter. I think the pictures show joy.
In a way I wish I had some photos from a year ago so that I could see how much better I look. I was tired and puffy looking and I had bloodshot eyes. I didn’t know what joy was. I didn’t have an ounce of sparkle.
Eleven months on, not only am I finally OK with having my photo taken – this is a very BIG thing for me – but I have oodles of joy and sparkle and I think it shows.