Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Ugly Photographs.

For as long as I can remember I've had this naughty habit of deleting every unflattering photograph of myself. It drives J mad. He thinks I should keep all photos - good, bad or ugly. My thinking is that when I'm eighty and I'm looking through pictures of myself from my younger years, I want to think wow, I was an attractive young woman. Not, wow, I looked like the back end of an elephant. Too bad I didn't consider reconstructive surgery.

Back in the pre-children days there weren't so many unphotogenic angles. Now I'm pouncing on the delete key when I see even a hint of a double-chin (it was a trick of the light!) or a wobbly tummy (it was the way I was standing!) or chubby arms (okay okay it was the cakes!).

The worst photo I ever saw of myself was taken at my baby shower, one week after I'd give birth to my first son. To say that my eyes practically popped out of my head like cartoon eyes on springs at the sight of that photo is an understatement. I could hardly believe it was me. The baby weight, instead of falling off like it was supposed to (in my dreams), was still there like a great big fat suit of armour. And then all I remember is nailing that delete key in kind of a happy delirium so that not a trace of that whale-person remained.

So that's what I do. I delete. 

And it's not like I delete ugly pictures of other people. No way do I do that! That would be so wrong!

Okay maybe once.

But what do you do when someone else owns an ugly photo of you? What do you do when you're a fanatic ugly-picture-deleter and the ugly picture is not yours to delete? And what if that ugly picture is circulated among friends and family and there's not a thing in hell you can do about it? 

It's bound to happen: think of all the places you go and get-togethers you attend where pictures are being snapped without you knowing. You can't dive into a perfect pose every single time. And unless you're Scarlett Johansson or Sofia Vergara there are bound to be some angles that aren't entirely favourable.

So what do you do?

Well... for one thing, you do not stomp around the house, waving your arms in protest, pouting and hissing profanities. You definitely do not consider stealing the guilty camera and erasing all evidence of it. And no way on earth do you tell everyone within earshot that you definitely do not look like that. That, in fact, that was probably not even you! It was a fake you! An impersonator wandering around the room! That must be it.

No, you don't do any of those things.

What you do is, you remember how to breathe deeply. And then you remind yourself that even though there are ugly photos of you floating around the universe, the world will keep on turning.

Probably. 

Photo, istockphotos.com

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5 comments:

Christy said...

Ha! I loved this post but it really would have been awesome to see an ugly photo (your words! I don't believe it!) of you! :)

Lady Mama said...

Christy, I thought about but couldn't bring myself to! :-)

LisaDay said...

I delete my ugly photos, too. My husband feels that same way as J. It must be a man thing.

I delete pictures I have taken of others that are bad and if I really hate one someone has taken and shown me, I do insist they delete it.

LisaDay

Kate Coveny Hood said...

Just caught up on A LOT of reading here... Did I really leave it that long?

Ah well - I may not be the best commenter - but I do go back and catch up on what I missed!

Just so you know - there are no pictures of me in existence from age 10-11. Those were dark years...braces...unflattering "boy" haircuts...stout tween figure...way too tall for my age-ness. I was not cute. And when I finally did emerge from my chrysalis as a totally NORMAL looking teenager, I promptly destroyed all evidence of the most awkward pre-teen to ever walk the earth (at least in my opinion at the time).

And I do my fair share of deleting now. Mainly because I look so goddamn OLD in pictures. But I try not to delete everything. Because I know that I'll think I look much better in retrospect...when I really AM old.

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

We are our own worst critics about that. I never like a photo of myself unless it's from college years. I don't delete mine, but I bury them in my digital archives never to be seen. Now that I'm thinking about it, I might as well delete!