If a Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words . . .

Then I would hate to read the caption under my face.

Because I?  Am not photogenic.

I love being behind the camera (though I haven’t been doing it much lately), but I really loathe being in front of it.  It’s not that I am so modest that I don’ want pictures of myself, it’s just that pictures of myself generally make me look like a mountain troll.  I try to relax and look natural and smile, yet I always wind up looking like I’m standing in an invisible cloud of skunk putrescence.  Or like I have a bad stitch in my side.  Or like I hate the world (and really? who doesn’t every now and then?).

I’ll never forget the time I was 13 and had to go get my first military ID card (or maybe had to go get it renewed?  I really don’t remember how that all worked), and the picture was so AWFUL.  Being 13, I pouted and whined a bit.  My hair looked horrible, my nose looked fat, I looked so UGLY, and did I really have to show people that thing every time I wanted to go to the commissary with my mom????  As I complained to my father about how horrific and life-destroying that photo was, the airman who snapped the shot and made the card (I’m assuming he was an airman, because I can’t imagine anyone with a higher rank putting in 40 hours a week taking pictures of people who then HATE them and WHINE about them) looked at me and said, “You know what they say:  The camera doesn’t lie.”

I was devastated for the next 20 years of my life.

Okay, maybe not the next 20 years, but it feels like it when you’re 13 and you are staring at a photo of yourself in which your hair looks bad, and your nose looks fat, and you just in general look UGLY, and some 19ish-year-old guy basically tells you, “Shut up.  You are that hideous.”


Several years later (like, almost five, but that is a whole other blog post) I got my driver’s license.  That photo?  Rocked.  Yes!  Can you believe it?  I wish I could have kept it forever and ever.  I mean, I’m sure I’d be mortified by the large 80s hair by now, but still . . . my nose did not look fat, my hair looked great (for the time period), and I did not have an expression that smacked of one trying to hold back vomit.  If we’d had scanners back then I’d be sharing it with you today.

Then there were my senior pictures.  Some of them were good, but one of them? One of them was . . . wow!  I couldn’t believe that was me!  I mean, I knew what I looked like in the mirror, but in pictures?  No, I never looked like that in pictures, generally not even in the mirror.  Except that time?  I did!  I really, really did!  I mean, honestly, I got male pen pals based on that photo (and the fudge I sent to my brother and his friends in the Missionary Training Center).  Unfortunately, that is not the senior picture that an old classmate posted and tagged on Facebook; and though I’m sure I have a copy of it somewhere, I have no idea where, so no sharing of that one either.

Since then?  Blargh.  All the little fairies have taken their magic pixie dust that they must have sprinkled on me when I was 17/18 and locked it in a vault somewhere.  Oh, sure, they got a bit of it out for my wedding photos 14 years ago, but I’ve pretty much been left to look like a feudal serf in a skunk colony ever since.

Until Sunday, when I handed my barely 11-year-old the camera and said, “Come take some pictures of me and your dad.”

I knew I was risking what little self esteem I have, but we have no photos of me anywhere in our house, and no photos of me and McH together since our wedding.  Sad, no?  And I have a frame that needs a photo of the two of us together, so I figured it was time.

Plus, my mother was visiting and brought her brand new stash of age-defying Arbonne products, and we had just spend some QT in my bathroom youngifying, so really, no time like the youngified-as-possible present.  Right?

It was slightly breezy, and I think the fairies must have dumped their whole stash of dust over us:

Me and Matt

And the husband is even smiling!  You have NO IDEA how nearly impossible that is to capture on film/digital whatever.  Of course, there were a few photos before this one in which I was nibbling on his ear, pretending to bite his neck like a vampire, etc., and then there was the one where he reached around and pinched my butt (well, what he could pinch of it, since I’m sitting up on our front porch railing), and those got us laughing, and smiling, and NOT looking like one of us was about to pass a kidney stone while the other was contemplating a high level assassination with a spoon.

And ever since my barely 11-year-old daughter took this picture out on our front porch (yes, we were nibbling and pinching in front of her, which is why some of the photos are so blurry – she was laughing), I’ve been thinking:  imagine how great we could look if we had Oprah’s people!  I don’t watch her show very often (I don’t like it when the word “bloviate” just pops into my head), but I’ve heard her talk about her fantastic, expensive, complicated lighting that makes her skin look perfect.  And we all know she’s got make up people (who hasn’t seen pictures of her without her make up?  She HAS make up people).  And if they can take the real her and turn her into the t.v. her, just think what they could do for me!

But I don’t have people.  I will never have people, not Oprah’s kind, anyway.  I do, however, have some great kids and a fantabulous husband, and I have their pictures proudly on display throughout my house.  Maybe it’s time to put some of me around, too.  Before I get any older.

And . . . umm . . . I’m still not sure how to do this Tewt the Newt thing now that I’ve found George.

10 thoughts on “If a Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words . . .

  1. Christina

    I think your 11 year old should go into business. And the fairies too for that matter. Because I’d pay big bucks for a picture as adorable as that one!! Seriously, I was just (as in yesterday) going through an entire YEAR’s worth of photos looking for JUST ONE where I don’t look hideous (bonus points if Hubby was in the pic with me!) and I couldn’t. Not one. And after looking at all those horrible photos I decided I needed a diet. For my face. Because yeah I could stand to lose 5 pounds, but what really bothers me is how positively fat my face has gotten in the last few years. And now I’ve written a whole stinking blog post in your comments. Sorry ’bout that.


  2. I’m with Christine! I will hire your daughter, and kidnap those fairies. Or at least shake them to death and bottle the dust. I would LOVE a pic that good of me and my hubby! But I do not believe it is even remotely possible. 😦 Sigh. FRAME THAT PIC!! In a big frame.


  3. As I mentioned on FB, this is a great photo. (And here is the comment I deleted from FB before I posted it, because I figured no one would understand the context and your friends would just think I was a crazy person) “This is also a great picture of McH. He totally does not like he could kill the president of Paraguay with a pen in this picture.” ;-p


  4. Dianna

    I think my favorite part of the pic is the way Matt is all smirky because he knows he looks rather nice and such and you’re all, “Mine mine mine mine mine” *lol* I stand by my earlier statement – you look gorgeous and very, very happy. I love this picture!


  5. Absolutely beautiful! And while I beg to differ with you on your need for fairies with awesome pixie dust, I would like to know how much your almost 11-year-old charges…and how big of a bag I’ll need to snatch those fairies from you. Because ‘I’ NEED. THOSE. FAIRIES! I’ll pay cash for your troubles…or maybe coupons. I’m kind of into coupons right now. 😉


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