Weekly Column: Not-so Picture Perfect

©Stephenie Freeman

I am convinced if it weren’t for these weekly columns, there will be very little record that I existed past the age of 29.

The other day while I was busy wasting time on Facebook, I decided that it was time to update my profile picture. Now for those of you who haven’t succumbed to the pressure to join Facebook, your profile picture is small, thumbnail sized photo of yourself that everyone sees when they first look at your page.

When I first created my page, I put up a picture that included me with my whole family. I used this picture for two reasons: 1) I looked halfway decent, and 2) there wasn’t anything else remotely acceptable to choose from. After searching and searching through my computer files for a decent picture of myself, I couldn’t find one. Turns out, a picture of me, looking decent, by myself, past the age of 29 (the year my first son was born) simply doesn’t exist.

It’s like when you first get married and all of the frames around your house include pictures of your puppy dog. Then once the kids arrive, the pictures of the puppy get stuck in a shoebox and shoved in the top of the closet. Once the babies arrive, pictures of anything or anyone else cease to exist.

It all starts out innocent enough. In the front of our photo albums you’ll see pictures of my husband and I on our honeymoon, my husband and I in front of our first house, my husband with his arms wrapped around my pregnant belly. The beginnings of a happy family all caught on film.

But slowly as you move through the album, it is as if I became the Incredibly Disappearing Woman. It’s as if the older I’ve gotten the less detectable I am on film. There’s Mommy with the new baby. There are Mommy’s arms holding the new baby. There are Mommy’s hands next to the baby. Until finally, there’s only the baby left in the picture and Mommy has completely disappeared.

Part of reason that there aren’t many pictures of me is due to the fact that I am always the one holding the camera. This is no big surprise considering that I am the one who remembers to bring the camera and then remembers to pull it out during the important photo-opt times. If it weren’t for me, there wouldn’t be any pictures of anyone or anything.

We’ve been blessed to go on many family vacations, but according to our family photos, you’d never know that I was even there. I can just see my boys thumbing through the family photos one day after I am long gone.

“Here’s Dad with us on the beach. Here’s Dad helping us making S’mores while camping. Look! I can see the edge of a fingernail in this picture of Dad riding with us on the teacups at Disneyland. Maybe Mom was there after all.”

The other reason that I’m not in any family pictures is because I usually don’t want my picture taken. My first instinct is to avoid the camera lens at all cost. Seeing bad pictures of myself only reminds me of the twenty pounds that I need to loose or how I no longer look as young as I feel. Luckily, it’s pretty darn easy to make those unflattering mommy pictures quickly disappear, never to return again.

That is until you sudden need one for your Facebook page and you realize that of all of the 24,378 pictures on your computer, there are only seven of you, three of which are of you taking a bite of something and the remaining four involve you trying to hide behind someone or something.

In order to try and improve on this problem, I did look on the Web for some tips on being more photogenic. They recommended things like wearing clothes that suit you, getting rid of your double chin by resting your head on your hands, sticking your neck out like a turkey, and smiling with your eyes. It was like a bad Olan Mills picture just waiting to happen.

I was laughing so hard when I read those suggestions; I wished someone had taken my picture.

One Comment

  1. Dawn

    Awesome post!!! And, so, so true!! A good reminder I need to get in the picture every now and then. Just so my girls know I existed some day! LOL!

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