I take comfort being behind the camera rather than in front -- I truly understand the feeling. The photos are below are from the one set of photos from 2014 where I really LOVE how I look.... and it's mostly because I was matron of honor for my best friend's wedding and had invested in a really good pair of Spanx, and spent $100 on a professional make up artist and another $80 to have my hair quaffed by a pro. Quite unfortunately, I don't think Spanx are comfortable enough for every day wear and I can't afford the professional help on a day-to-day basis. Dang practical budgeting.
The fact is that I don't look like that on a daily basis. Most days are spent in yoga pants or leggings. If I'm feeling gutsy, I'll squeeze into jeans for the day. My hair is on top of my head, I don't wear makeup, and I have cleverly found that my glasses hide my dark circles. I'm sneaky that way. Even when I dress up, I'm still covering -- what I perceive to be -- my flaws.
That's a very important part, there.... I'm focusing on what I see as my flaws. I could look at the photos below and pick them apart until the cows come home. But I won't because, despite what I see, I also see photos that I love & cherish. They capture moments that are special to me - time with friends, moments with my family, hugs and kisses with my kids. Sure, the photos would look just fine without me in them. My friends would still be having fun, my baby would still be cuddled by someone, my boys would still be smiling and laughing for the camera. But what good does that do for telling a story, for telling MY story? I have plenty of scrapbook pages that have pictures of everyone else because I didn't hand the camera over to someone else. I stayed in my comfort zone behind the camera and captured everyone else's happiness. But I was there, I was happy, I had fun, too!
I've been making an effort this past year to get in front of the camera, to let it go and enjoy the moment. To practice what I preach and act on the fact that I fully believe everyone is beautiful and everyone deserves to be in the photo. Hear that? Not only should you be in the photos, you DESERVE to be in the photos. You work hard for your family 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your kids and friends and family love you for you. Share the moments with them! It's all about the baby steps - take a selfie with your son on your phone, grab a snapshot with your daughter at the park, hand the camera to a fellow tourist and pose in front of that national monument. Stand up and say "I was here! I lived this moment!"
And know, that even as a professional, I understand where you're coming from. And trust that I mean it when I say you can let go at a photo shoot - be free, have fun, be you - and let me do the work. Let me worry about posing or your bangs in the wind or that scar on your chin. Leave your worries at the door, because
I think you're beautiful.