Self Image versus Reality

I think it’s pretty obvious to you, dear reader, that I’m not camera shy.

Examples of My Non-Shyness
1. My willingness to Photoshop myself into compromising positions, as in my recent post about an embarrassing grocery store encounter.
2. My self-photographed reenactment of the murder of a spider in my living room.
3. The fact that I posted the video in this blog, despite being sick and looking like something my cat spit up.
4. Who’s not afraid to dance an Irish jig, take a picture of it, and post it for the world to see? That’s right, me.
5. Would you ever record yourself trying to do The Rock Eyebrow and put it on YouTube? If not, you’re probably camera shy. I’m not.

And there are probably 50 more where those examples came from.

Examples aside, for every picture you see published here on AbbyGabs, there are 35 more that never see the light of day. I analyze every single photograph, whether Photoshopped or not, before I use it. There are several key components that a publishable photo must have before it’s considered for use on this blog:

1. How obvious is my double chin?
2. Can you see my chipped front tooth from this angle?
3. Nose hairs/boogers/zits visible?
4. How do my shoulders look? Normal or linebacker-ish?
5. Arm flab within the frame?
6. How tubby are my cheeks looking here…adorably pinchable or Chipmunk chunky?
7. Cleavage? If so, No-No!

If these things are present in a photo, or if they can’t be cropped out/covered with a graphic/fixed in Photoshop then that photo is discarded.

I think most people would assume that, because I do photograph myself so much for this blog, or because of the copious amounts of pictures I upload to Facebook/Twitter on a regular basis, that I have no reservations about myself being photographed. The truth is, I love taking pictures, recording memories, and sharing them with friends. As much as I want to take a picture, I want to be in a picture. I like having visual, tangible evidence of this life that I’m living.

That being said, don’t think for a second that I don’t have insecurities about my body, or the way I appear to other people.

Let me see if I can make it clear using a photograph of myself and my husband–a photo that we’ve gotten nothing but compliments on, that has served us well as a Facebook profile pic over the years, that currently resides in a frame just inches from my fingertips at this moment.

Here’s what you see: Happy. Rested. Love. Relaxed.

Here’s what I see:

Let me clarify this by saying that I love this photo. It was taken at Wrightsville Beach, during one of our more memorable vacations. It reminds me of what a wonderful time we had on that trip, and I think we both look relaxed and happy.

However, I’m constantly critical over myself and how I look.

Every woman has had that moment when they see their reflection in a store window or mirror and they think, “Wow, I was feeling so much cuter than I’m really looking right now.” Or the let-down of a much-anticipated photograph being less than you’d hoped it would be.

Here’s another example. I went to a friend’s wedding not too long ago, and I got all dressed up for the first time in ages. I felt so great about myself. I loved my dress, my shoes, my jewelry, my accessories. I felt fashionable, put-together, sexy. So I captured the moment in a self-portrait.

When I looked back on this photo a few days later, I saw this:

And yes, I still had the wall-o’-boobs and the shelf butt, despite the Spanx.

As a woman, insecurities about your body can crop up at any time of the day. No matter where you are, what you’re doing, or what celebrity is following you on Twitter, those evil little Insecurity Beasties can crop up, stripping you of what little shred of self confidence you had the day before.

But here’s the thing: I won’t let those little Beasties keep me from being present in my own life. I always have that moment of “Hmmm…I’m lookin’ less than great today. Maybe I should  do a post without pictures today.” But then, I realize that the essence of my blog involves story-telling in the way I do it best:

Full-color, bold, silly, and fully illustrated.

It’s 100% my style. And I won’t let my insecurities keep me from it, even when my self image doesn’t match up with reality. Because I know I’m more critical of myself, in every aspect of my life, than anyone else.

And truly, some of those examples listed at the top of this post are some of my favorites I’ve ever written. If I’d let my insecurities keep me from using silly pictures of myself in the name of comedy, I wouldn’t have those posts to look back on and laugh at now.

So, take that insecurity beasties. I’m kickin’ your booties today.

PS: Having the same sort of day? Want an inspirational photoshop picture of yourself karate chopping the poo outta some insecurity beasties? Drop me a line, and a photo of yourself, and I’ll work my magic. And yes, it’s FREE!!!

One thought on “Self Image versus Reality

  1. Jessica Eid

    Such a great post. I’ve always had the same problems myself, and I commend you for pushing through them and letting us see you on the good days and the bad. Especially considering the fact that the media these days would seemingly rather go bankrupt than use an unedited version of a woman in an ad, magazine, etc. No wonder we all have such crazy self-confidence issues. Anyway, you’re cute and wonderful and thanks! 🙂

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