I was honored to be nominated but also horrified that I would have to search through photos of myself, deem them beautiful and then share them publicly.
These were my #5BeautifulMoments:
Top Row: 1) Jay and I in 1991 (who knew that 9 years later we’d be married?) and 2) Me with Wild Boy at 6 months old (it was one of the few times I was showered, dressed and actually consented to have my photo taken).
Bottom Row: 1) Running my last leg of Ragnar SoCal 2014 (I had no idea that the photo was being taken and the fact that I was smiling while running was something I considered rare), 2) Meeting Simon Le Bon, April 2015. This momentous occasion has been fully discussed in detail here (I actually had my hair and make-up done that day because I’m such a spaz. It was fortuitous that I did!) and 3) An unexpected selfie as I said goodbye to my Brooklyn apartment in 2014.
Have I had other beautiful moments? Likely so but these were on my phone and easily accessible.
I found the photos and posted them to Facebook. The feedback I received was so kind that it got me thinking about how difficult it is for us to be kind to ourselves. Even as I chose the photos that I shared, I kept thinking, “I don’t really feel like I look beautiful in this photo but the memories associated with that photo bring beautiful feelings into my heart.”
It made me sad that I felt that way about myself. What was worse was that I knew I was far from the only person to be uncomfortable with the idea of recognizing self beauty. Inner beauty is something most of us can admit to but outer beauty is another thing entirely.
I used to be the person that never wanted to be included in photos. I’d like to say that changed when I became a parent but it did not. As a blogger, I learned what a selfie was in 2013 and I was surprised that anyone was interested in taking them, much less sharing them. I now take and share selfies often. I’m not sure when the shift of being too embarrassed to take photos to “selfie sharing on the regular” happened but it’s an evolution that I find somewhat liberating.
I don’t love the culture surrounding the implied requirement to take selfies (at what seems like every moment in time) but the fact that the selfie movement has helped some people find a level of respect for themselves is something I’m OK with.
Do I love or share every photo that I take? Absolutely not but most of the negative feelings I used to have surrounding photos of myself have lightened. I can’t say that I’m not critical of myself in photos (I would NOT be opposed to Photoshopping myself at will. Sorry, Kate Winslet) but I can look at myself in a photo and have more positive thoughts than I ever did in the past.
I do believe that beauty does come from within but I also have a great wish that people (me included) would come to truly appreciate their own outer beauty as well.
To be comfortable and to celebrate “the skin we’re in” is often thought of as an accomplishment that usually happens (for women at least) after “a certain age” (for some it’s 30, others 40 and I’ve even heard 50+). Is it because we don’t care as much as we age? Do we give up? I’d like to think it’s because we’re wiser and have more upon which to base our self worth that youth and beauty get a smaller percentage of our focused attention. So often we define our beauty by our profession, accomplishments, who cares about us, a size we fit into or the type of clothing/make-up/accessories etc that we adorn ourselves with. I’m convinced that the true source of beauty really is “the light in the heart”. Shining that light via our individual outer beauty should be shared and celebrated.
With the idea of spreading the message of sharing your inner and outer beauty, I ask you to find and share your #5BeautifulMoments on your own blog, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and nominate friends to do the same. Feel free to link to this post with the #5BeautifulMoments and tag me on Twitter or Instagram.
Are you critical of yourself in photos?
Have you gotten worse or better with your level of criticism?