accepting my appearance

August 3, 2012 | 36 Comments

realme

The complimentary self-portrait via Instagram is a science I have lassoed: Head tilted, chin tucked, iPhone positioned overhead, various rehearsed smiles donned. Snap, snap, snap. Delete, delete, delete. Choose. Apply filter. Find a reason to repeat ten minutes later BECAUSE OMG THERE MIGHT NOT BE ENOUGH PICTURES OF MEEEE.

Remember that time you heard your recorded voice played back for the first time? Yeah, that’s what you sound like TO EVERYONE EXCEPT YOURSELF. For reals. I’ve been witness to many of those firsts, and it’s tough to convince the speaker of this truth.

With my unflattering photos there’s a knee-jerk resistance present in absorbing this uncontrolled, more natural representation of my appearance. There’s something unnerving about the permanence of being photo-archived with chins tiering, belly swelling, and my mouth in its perpetual droopy state.

When I look in the mirror or take a picture, I make adjustments until I can cope with the reflection. I don’t have that control moving through the majority of my day. People see me slouch and they stand on my “bad side” where there’s the most scarring from years of acne. What I look like is no secret. I know this, but I wrestle to accept myself from all angles and in bad lighting.

The above picture is from Steve’s Instagram feed. When he finished cropping and adjusting, he had me sign off before uploading. I hate the picture. The way he’s played with light, texture and pattern is fantastic; his right brain is genius. I just wish I wasn’t in it, or that it had turned out less frumpy. Less cleavagey. Less butt-crack cleavagey.

But I did sign off on the upload. I signed off because I want to be more honest with myself. Honest about my appearance. Comfortable with it. Celebratory of it. I want to believe in all of my tripple-chinned, thick-armed, pockmarked-skin, wrinkle-necked, fine-haired, big-bellied glory I am beautiful. I am lovely. I belong. I matter. I want to believe that how I present, unfiltered and unposed is enough.

Pass the fucking zen.

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