There’s not much more ‘humbling’ then allowing oneself to be silly, especially in front of the camera.
I’ve shared before about my own personal ‘persuit’ in becoming content in my own skin, my own body, my own self image.
At one time, I was a tiny little thing with a ‘perfect’ figure, albeit not model height, but model proportions everywhere else.
Did I appreciate my body then? Nope. Even in those years I never saw myself as ‘beautiful’. Not until later did I think of myself as even pretty when I was younger. Once it was ‘gone’ I could see it then, yet I still couldn’t see myself as pretty now.
Proving that it’s all about ones own perception. It’s a matter of opinion, not a matter of fact.
When I went on to have five children, four of which are girls, I realized that if I’m ever going to truly teach them to love themselves for who they are, I would FIRST have to model that same behavior within ME.
Walk the walk, instead of just talking the talk.
How can a mother say, “daughter, you’re beautiful just the way you are!” and expect that daughter to believe her, when she turns around and complains about how “fat” or “__fill in the blank__” she herself is.
Especially if your children look just like you.
If I say to one of my girls, “I can’t get over how much you look like me when I was your age!” and then later say, “Oh I hate the way I look!” what’s that telling my girls? Is that telling them they are beautiful? Is that demonstrating self confidence in my own appearance?
It’s not just me who feels this way either. It’s ALL over the media these days. Dove soap has been campaigning “real beauty” since 2004 in their advertisements. It’s now the ‘Dove movement for self esteem’.
Pink sings about being “Perfect”, read the clean version, I could have written it myself about my own life. Stop listening to the lies in your head, you’re perfect. I tell my girls they need to listen to that advice. It’s true. I have FOUR beautiful daughters. Each one struggles with feeling beautiful.
Katy Perry sings about it too, to quote from one of her recent songs:
Baby you’re a firework
Come on let your colors burst
Make ’em go “Oh, oh, oh!”
You’re gunna leave ’em fallin’ down-own-own
You don’t have to feel like a waste of space
You’re original, cannot be replaced
Each of us is original. Each of us has our own colors. You better believe it!
I remember from MY youth, to quote the song True Colors by Cyndi Lauper.
But I see your true colors
I see your true colors
And that’s why I love you
So don’t be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful,
Like a rainbow
This song affected me so much I honestly felt like I should write to Cyndi and ask if it was inspired by God Himself. Her words, this song, affected me deeply and often when I was feeling really low, I could almost hear God whispering these words in my ears. To this day, I still do. That may sound silly, but it is silly Saturday. And, the reality is, we all need words, like these, to speak to us. To keep us strong. To remind us that we really ARE beautiful.
Several years ago a group of us online did a photo challenge. The challenge was to do a self portrait photo shoot.
At first, my reaction was one of “NO WAY!, I HATE photos of myself!”
But then I thought about it, and realized what a horrible attitude it was, and I also realized that my girls have often mentioned there’s hardly any photos of their mama, and what a shame that really was. I love photos of MY mom, even of my grandmothers! Shouldn’t I too be willing to leave some sort of photo ‘legacy’ for those who come after me? To always stay away from the camera was being a little selfish, not to mention very self centered, of me.
So, I took a deep breath, and said yes to the challenge. Once I set things up, I even had some fun and got a little silly. I’m almost too embarrassed to share photos here, but oh well, I’ll take a deep breath again and just do it.
At first I was all kind of ‘serious’, not really sure what, or how, to proceed.
But then I loosened up a little.
Let my hair down…
And even got really silly (so embarrassed now!)
But what happened AFTER the challenge, when I played around with my photos, was something I’ve never forgotten and has helped me realize that even though how I look now, my body shape now, my older ‘fatter’ face, my lumpy figure, makes me feel like I’m no longer “me”, I still really am “me”. “Me” is still in there.
I played with some of the photos in ‘coloring book’, and I found myself.
There I was! Just as I always remembered myself.
Somehow, I just wasn’t seeing “me” anymore. But I am still the same person who married my husband 20 years earlier, hiding underneath my preconceived notion that I was no longer “me” anymore.
Sure, I’ve gained some weight, added a few wrinkles and too many gray hairs, but under it all, there I am.
Since that self portrait photo shoot challenge, I’ve still struggled with this ‘new’ me. I still hope to get back the ‘old’ me, at least some of the body I once had!
However, I NEED to love me, as me. Not just on the outside, more importantly, on the inside.
I may have ‘lost’ some of my outer beauty over the years, I know in reality the youthful beauty will never be seen again. However, the inner beauty I possess now, and the inner beauty I still desperately strive for, desire to learn EVERY.SINGLE.DAY of my life, has far surpassed the outer beauty I have lost.
THAT is the true beauty I must strive for.
And now, just for fun, I’m going to challenge each of YOU to go find YOUR beauty too. Do you shy away from the camera? Do you ‘hate’ photos of yourself?
I challenge you to have a self portrait photo shoot, just you, your camera, and a mirror. Snap some photos, keep snapping photos until you loosen up, then snap some more!
Once you’re done, play with the photos! Have some fun with this!
This contest will remain open for one week, closing Saturday, July 16th at midnight. I’ll choose a winner using random.org next Sunday evening.
So get busy, grab those camera’s, and start shooting!