(The featured image is a clear Quartz sphere, said to help with clarity of thought and decision making…)
I had a dilemma this week. A horrid, uncomfortable one, that may to some people sound reasonable, like my craven fear of dentists. My current dentist is lovely, by the way, a softly spoken lady with a touch as light as silk on her dentist’s implements. My son doesn’t quite get my fear, he can empathise, but not understand. However, this particular dilemma was of my own making…
My son’s friend and mentor gave me the mental shove I needed to start writing again. I used to write a lot of poetry when I was younger, filled with angst and self-harm. I enjoyed it though, and I wanted to see if I could still do it. It started well enough, and my son’s mentor actually accepted my submissions for publication, (https://copperstapleblog.com/) mentioning in passing that a photograph would be required.
I conveniently forgot about this until the other day. I don’t like photos. Not generally, I love looking at photos on everyone else’s blogs, there are some lovely ones, I’ve taken some myself (cats and kids) and my son is a more than capable photographer. No, I don’t like having my photo taken.
There are photos of me as a child up to about sixteen, then they stop, apart from the occasional family event where I’ve been caught unawares. I find them upsetting… (Not family events, photos…) There are some when I’m a baby and obviously happy, then a toddler, but at about four years old, just when my parents started having marriage problems, there is an unhappiness in my eyes that perhaps only I can see, but I remember it all too well.
I don’t like having a memory frozen in time and being forced to re-visit that emotion each time I happen across that photo. First day at school photos, normally a proud time for parents, were just another milestone in misery. There are about eight photos in existence of me between fourteen and perhaps sixteen, and of course this was in the 80’s, so I had the awful frizzed hair, thick glasses and hideous fashion sense typical of that era. Still at school, still unhappy. Photos then capture me looking half dead or just plain strange… There are some photos of me with my mother when my oldest son was little. She’s quite a small person, but every time she sees these pictures, she exclaims gloatingly how dainty she is in comparison to my balloon-like frame and gigantic height. I am in fact, a respectable 5’ 7” ¾, and only a little overweight, but her remarks have left me feeling uncomfortable and abnormal.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not vain, I have no pretensions to beauty and I am aware of that. I am perfectly at ease with myself and accepting of what I am. I just don’t like to be reminded of how long it took me to get here and the memories…
Back to the present day. A photo of me was required. My son kindly offered to attempt to take one of me, knowing how unhappy I was about the whole thing and thinking I might be more relaxed with him. WRONG! We tried: writing in the front room. “No! My head looks a weird shape!” Smoking in the kitchen: “No! You can see my double chin!” Sitting at a desk: “No! My arms look fat!” Lying on my bed: “No! I look like a prawn and bald!”
Finally – my son, bless him, has limitless patience and understanding when it comes to his mother’s peculiarities – hit upon the idea of me holding my tabby cat. Although my cat doesn’t look terribly pleased at being used as a prop, my son achieved a photo of me that didn’t make me want to cry or look like a strange-shaped-headed-alien-being with a huge body and gangling limbs.
I look normal. Almost.
How I see myself…