Thursday, November 15, 2007
I can’t pinpoint the exact time when I began to hate having my picture taken. As a kid, I loved picture day, and in high school I was vain enough to check the index of the yearbook as soon as I got my hands on it to see how many pictures I was in, what I was doing, and how I looked. I’ve always gotten comments about how photogenic I am, but I’ve also always known it’s my face people are referring to and not my body.
Then came derby… and the photogs on the sidelines. It’s bad enough that every uniform I’ve had is less than attractive. I look good in hats, but not in a helmet. And for some reason my mouth guard protrudes worse than everyone else’s, making my mouth monkey like. Oh, and did I mention I sweat like a pig? On a hot summer day? In hell? So here I am; the focus of numerous tags on flickr. Large and in charge. All jacked up with ill-fitting clothing, looking like a lab experiment with a monkey and a pig gone wrong. And this, my friends, is my public persona. Lovely.
So when I was asked to pose for a month in our league’s calendar, I avoided it like the plague (it kills monkeys after all, you know), and I successfully skirted having my picture taken. I don’t want to be hanging on someone’s kitchen wall with notes scribbled below me that say things like “May 9: Prostate Exam,” or “May 17: Dog’s Birthday.” A calendar is something people refer back to and look at almost daily – eek!
And this got me thinking, because I hate being visible, how is this translating into other areas of my life? Do I hold back in derby because of it? Take fewer risks for fear that I will fail or make a spectacle of myself? Do I always do the “safe” thing? And for what?
Several years ago my best friend and I talked about having professional anti-pinup pictures taken of us. In the photos we’d be wearing seductively open house coats, orthopedic bras, granny panties, and nude stockings halfway rolled down our legs. It was a great idea then, and it still is now, but I still can’t bring myself to do it. Why? Because of the fear of looking MORE haggard than my friend. More rotund. More like I actually do wear a housecoat.
Previously unaware of where I was going with all this (it is suppose to be a motivational blog, after all), I closed this entry for a bit, and when I came back to it the conclusion was staring right back at me. My computer background is a full-size picture of me blocking the opposing jammer in our championship game. I’m damn proud of that picture. I held her back with the booty block from hell. And it’s just now that I realize why we take pictures and why we value them: it’s more a memory of a time and place or feeling than a beauty contest. I could have professional pix taken of me in a tub of horseshit where I look absolutely hot. Does that mean I value that picture more than one of my friends and I celebrating a fun time in our lives or one of me doing something well (in derby)? No way.
We judge ourselves too harshly and are self conscious about things others don’t even see. This is just another medium for self doubt: the picture. Perhaps this shall serve as a slap in the face for me to live life to its fullest – the way I want to. Because if I do that, I can’t ever look back at myself and have any regrets.