(How does one write about self awareness without offending or shaming the other person? I don't know!!! So I will just write from my heart and my own experience and preface that shaming is never my intention and we all have our own journey. My journey does not include photo editing but if yours does, more power to you. We all have our battles with body image and I definitely do not want to add to the struggle.)
"No man tells me what to do with my body. Only women's magazines can do that."-Mindy Kaling Instagram post 11/4/2015
Recently I had my photo taken. After he took the picture he showed me the camera screen. I thought "WOW, he is good!" The lighting was beautiful and I thought I made a good shirt choice. So I was shocked when I received the image in my email. It had been run through a photo editing program. The person in the image was a shinier version of myself. My husband commented that it looked like me 10 years ago. Say WHAT! Why would I want to erase 10 years of my life? Maybe I am being dramatic with that statement but that is how I look at my body. Yes my face and body shows age....because I am older. I do not want to look like I am 30 because I am not 30. I am 43. These last ten years have been the toughest and the most joyous of my life. I got married. I had my amazing son and light of my life. I lost my father and 3 grandparents. Received my son's autism diagnosis. Friends and family diagnosed with cancer, some survived and some didn't. I traveled. I made art. I made friends. I gained weight. I lost weight. I gained weight back and lost some more. Do I wish I looked differently? Sure I do, but right now I look like this. And I have to love this person in this skin right now. There is a lot of self-loathing in the world. I see it in myself and I see it in my 18 year old students. So I know youth does not hold all of the answers. I don't have it figured out. I am working on it!!!!! So my choice this week is to love the unedited image: the blemishes and pimples and wrinkles. Tomorrow I may feel differently so I will treasure this moment today.