There are times when my husband is telling me good things about me and gets frustrated with me for negating his comments. What he does not seem to understand is that the woman that he is describing doesn’t feel like me, and that is the disconnect. I feel like I need to diffuse the situation almost, before he realizes he’s made a mistake.
Just before Christmas he started dropping hints about my gift and it didn’t take me long to guess the present. He’s gotten me a special photo session with my friend Sara. When I found out this was something she was going to be doing I had asked myself if that was something I would ever do, if it was something I could ever do. It will be an experience, and hopefully I will feel different when I come out the other side.
Of course in the lead up to this session I have all sorts of questions in my head – can I get to the gym so I’m more comfortable with my body? Are my tattoos going to look disjointed? What about the stretch marks? What about the cellulite? What about hair removal? What will I wear that I will feel comfortable in?
Can I be myself?
Will anyone else notice any of that stuff?
It’s not so much a question of whether I will feel beautiful, it’s more a question of whether I can feel that way. I have never felt really ugly, but I’ve always felt mostly average. I’m also very aware of how I talk about myself in front of my daughter, who looks so much like I did when I was her age. She’s beautiful, that I know. So why can’t I see me? It’s easier for me to be in pictures with her because my smile is automatic and natural.
I’ve been doing the #365feministselfie project this year, posting a photo of myself every day. It’s about getting used to seeing my face, taking pictures of myself, letting myself by silly or ugly or even smiling though I wonder if people think my teeth are weird. Through this year I’ve struggled with photos where I can see a double chin, pictures where my breasts and body look gigantic. And every time I post one of those photos I wonder what other people see when they see me.
Joe asks me to understand that he thinks I’m beautiful. He wants me to feel beautiful and get a sense of what his eyes see. I want him to understand that I know he thinks that I’m beautiful, but that doesn’t mean I feel that way inside myself.