Monday, February 11, 2019

The harshest critic

J. chuckled as he sent me a text.  It was a picture of our mutual friend D, a "glamour shot" she had taken years ago.

If you don't know what these are, you are probably younger than us.  Girls in the '80s loved these.  Most malls had a place exclusively set up to do them.  You went in and someone applied makeup to you with a heavy hand.  They usually curled and fluffed up your hair.  You were given costume jewelry to wear and a sort of "wrap" that from the shoulders up perspective of the final photos looked like a glamorous off the shoulder gown, when it was really just a piece of material.  Then your photos were taken.  You later came in (no digital cameras then) to look at your proofs.  You picked the one you liked, it was edited to make your skin look flawless, and then you had it: a glamour shot!

I'll spare you mine, mostly because it's in a box somewhere in the garage, which is unheated and too freezing to enter at the moment.  But I still remember the anticipation of waiting for the proofs (something kids these days won't ever have), not knowing how the pictures would turn out.  Then, all I could see were flaws.  I was disappointed, like I often was with pictures of myself in those days.  There was always something wrong with them: my hair looked wild, I didn't look thin enough, my pose was strange, my smile weird.

But now when I dig out old photos of me, I feel sort of sad.  There was nothing wrong with that girl.  She hardly weighed over 100 pounds.  Her hair was full and long.  She was pretty and healthy and hopeful.

When I take pictures with friends, I never judge how they look.  I just see how happy they are in that moment and how good they are as people.  We need to be this way with ourselves.  We're all better looking, smarter, and brave than we give ourselves credit for.   

Don't believe this? Go back and look at old photos that you might not have liked at the time, or thought were just okay.  You might be surprised.  Bonus points if they were "glamour shots."
Me at 22.  I thought I looked just ok in this picture.

7 comments:

  1. You are right. We are our own harshest critic. It’s a hard cycle to break!!!!

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    1. It really is! I fear social media tags in case I look bad!

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  2. Good perspective....lovely biker! Since this is about me: Once when I was trying to avoid being in a group photo while on a North Country Trail work crew, one woman said, "But you are so attractive." I was astonished...still don't like being in photos. This post tells me to adjust my attitude.

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    1. When I was in Iceland, a woman was taking my picture and she said something about all the black sand and the lovely woman in the picture. I turned around to look for the lovely woman!

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  3. P.S. I remember that glamour shot.

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  4. I never had Glamour Shots taken, but I do remember them! That picture of you is adorable. I have always hated getting my picture taken, and now when I see pictures of me from high school or college, I can't believe how harsh I was about my own appearance. So much precious time and energy wasted on worrying about things that are not only not important in the grand scheme of things, but robbing us of appreciating and enjoying ourselves, as we are already. I hope I am doing a better job of teaching my stepdaughters to avoid that trap.

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    1. Thanks for teaching your stepdaughters! I feel that so many women are critical of themselves and I wish we weren't.

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