I’ve been freelance writing for a bunch of publications and one of them asked me for a good picture of myself. Digging through my phone and other albums, the sad realization dawned- In the past five years I haven’t managed to be in a frame all by myself. It’s either pictures with my daughter or pets or husband or friends or combinations of all of the above. The occasional solo selfies were also blurry and mere attempts to capture the most flattering (or what I consider most flattering!) angles of my face.
Becoming a mother changed my body completely and I haven’t been able to get it back to the way it was, pre-baby. Consequentially I’ve spent the past few years hiding from cameras and mirrors as I lug around with jiggly arm fat, cheek-fat, belly-fat and a bit of everywhere-else fat.
Truth be told I haven’t felt beautiful in a long time. I’ve been so obsessed with working on how to fix my head that my body, and how it makes me feel, has been neglected.
Then I found a poor soul to torment for another project. To call him a photographer or artist would be an understatement. He is a magician, a male version of Mary Poppins, digging through a jumbled bag stuffed with an infinite amount of crap to yank out the right object. I was taut, self-conscious and did not want to co-operate. Being under someone else’s lens made me feel vulnerable; I didn’t have control over the ‘Click’ button or the angles that could minimize my chubbiness.
So this is the ‘me’ he finally fished out on that lovely morning at the park when he was meant to be doing something else. I don’t know how he did it, how he got me to stop caring , express a piece of my soul that allowed itself to be disturbed for just a brief second and captured it.
This is me; I’m thirty-two and beautiful inside-out. My cheeks explode when I smile and that’s okay. I look completely different from how I did a decade ago and that’s okay. My skin has suffered sun-damage and is growing worry lines from over-thinking and that’s okay. I’ve lost a lot of my hair and sanity and that’s okay too.
The reason for the rise of the ‘selfies’ is the desire to capture ourselves the way we’d like and pick our own perfections to display. But what if someone else showed us that different angle, tainted with an honesty we don’t know because of our own preconceptions? What if we realized what brilliant kaleidoscopes we were capable of being, twisted and turned into a myriad of colors, designs and smiles?