Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Image Unedited

Shortly after updating my profile picture on Facebook not long ago, someone had uploaded and tagged me to an unattractive image of myself.  Yikes!  WTF?  As soon as I saw it, it was removed, but it had left me feeling bad.  Immediately I was obsessing over this person's intentions.  Was it meant to hurt?  To mock?  Did she intend to be mean spirited?  The friend's response was something like, "Oh, when I saw your beautiful profile pic, I decided to take the other picture down."  Sarcasm?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  There was much one can read into that.

Or is there?  Or more importantly, does it matter?

That's when it's time to take a step back.  I am reminded of a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt, "Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent."  It is I who feels insecure of my own image.  Taken at an unflattering angle, you all can see the weight that's built up over the years, acne scars, gray hairs (I actually love my gray streaks), loose skin, droopy jowls.  People see me at flattering and unflattering angles all day long.  There is no opportunity for me to edit, photoshop away the shine on my nose or lay over a soft filter to mask the scars before I am seen.  Yet, I love and am loved all the same.

Except... those moments when I see a chance reflection of myself.  Ouch.  How did I get this big?  This tired?  This old?  I catch myself from sinking in despair and smile.

My daughter was playing with my camera phone just this last weekend.  She snapped a photo of me while chopping vegetables with my mother in the background.  It is one of my favorite past-time these days, preparing food in the kitchen when my mom and I get together.  One that I look forward to a lot.  She loves all the delicious raw foods that I've been experimenting with, and I love an appreciative partner.  Chloe showed me the photo and she and my mom exclaimed how beautiful it was.  I cringed.  I saw the stooped shoulders, the baggy shirt, the large body, the unattractive angle that showed my sagging jowls.  I made her delete it.

Now I wish I had it.  I want to show it to you - the image of me doing something that I truly love.  The image that my daughter saw and loved.  The image that my mother saw and loved.  That is what I wish to embrace, what I am trying to love.  All of me.  In spite of all of the above.  I looked back through my photo archives and found almost nothing of myself.  Typical when I'm the one safely hiding behind the lens.  Instead, here is me with the kids on a colder day in Chicago.

When I was looking for that quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, I found this written by blogger, Davey Wavey:

No one can tear you down, unless you give them power over you to do so.
No one can hurt you, unless you let them.
No one can deflate you, without your permission.
No one can tell your truth, without your okay.
No one can make you angry, unless you give them that ability.
No one can define you, without your authority.
Wise words.  He's right, you know.


  1. I am so sorry to hear that someone would do this... Some people are just hateful, filled with jealousy and viciousness, having nothing better to do with their time than to try to make someone feel worst than they do inside. It's as though they think that making someone else feel or look badly makes them look and feel better, but the truth is that their actions make them look even uglier. Sounds like they have some baggage they need to deal with in themselves, it was their issue, not yours. Just say outloud, "I don't own that" and realize it was their issue, be happy that things are resolved, dust it off of your hands and mind, and you don't give one more second of your life to think about it ok? :)
    You ARE making a difference in a positive way to your life, your families life, and those around you. The positive thing is to say, wow, I have come a long way since then and am thankful for the changes I have put into action. It's nice to know that you are loved, unconditionally, not only from your darling children, family, and friends, but most of all from God above. We are always a work in progress, and you are on a positive path :) The Joy of the Lord Gives You Strength! :)

    1. Thank you for your kind thoughts, SN.

      One thing I know well is that the person who put up the unflattering image is someone who loves me, and I love her in return - although we may not always be openly supportive of each other. What I had hoped to convey was that the obsessive thoughts over whether she had intended to harm, were my baggage brought on by my own insecurities.

      A wise friend once told me that looking into someone motives can be tricky, if not dangerous. I think I agree.