Thursday, April 14, 2011

I did it for them

I hate photos of myself. Like any "normal" American woman, I pick myself apart. My eyes-- they bug out.  My complexion-- hate it. My smile icky--- and if the photo includes my body-- watch out. Why do we do this to ourselves? I've never met a woman that is confident in the way she looks. I try to hide from the camera & if I'm caught in a photo-- I hope and pray that my friend will live by the unsaid FB creed and not post without my approval.

I hide from cameras, but I'm here to tell you I'm trying to change my ways--

It all started a few years ago.  We spoke in the restroom of all places-- she with a touch of morning sickness and me having an emotional moment and taking a break. My mom was newly diagnosed with terminal cancer and only just begun her fight. I was suppose to find out the results from a recent scan & was having issues trying to pull my thoughts together to create an album.  I was procrastinating and was taking pictures of everyone else and their projects.

I got enough courage to ask her a question and she helped me frame up my thoughts.  That question led into another discussion about the importance of making sure I was in front of the camera as well as behind it. I told her that I hated photos of myself, I'm my mother's daughter after all-- I realized that I had to make a concerted effort to get into more photos. I wouldn't be doing it for me; I would be doing it for them. My boys needed to see me in the pictures too.

Months later, I forced myself to hand off my camera to someone else to make sure I was in the picture. I made sure to keep some of the photos of myself with my boys and not delete them. I was doing it for them.. and I'm glad I did.

This past February, my mom's battle with cancer came to an end and I found myself with a very difficult task. I wanted to write an eulogy for my mom, but I just couldn't do it. Instead,  I decided that I would pull a photo collage together and let the photos do the talking.

I sat on the floor for hours and dug through piles of photos of my mom, trying to find the best pictures.  Pulling together a photo collage of my mom was one of the hardest things I had to do. Every single picture of my mom was beautiful. Every single picture had a memory and a story and I was able to point to every picture and tell my boys a story: her story. 

It made me sad that there were not many photos of us together except when we were very young. She always hid from the camera.  I wish I could go back in time and change that, but I can't.   Luckily, I understood Ali's point and I took more photos of my mom and I within the last few years.  She eventually came to realize that my camera and I were connected at the heart and it was love that made me want to take pictures of her all the time. Loving someone so much that you would be able to freeze time and keep the moment forever... That's love.

 I made my mom take pictures with me and the family the last 2 years-- and I have a number of pictures because of it. She did frown a number of times, but she got over it :)  I want my little ones to remember so many things about Grandma and now I have pictures to help with that. I didn't take pics for me or my mom-- I have so many memories in my head and in my heart.  I did it for them.


Ali said...

I'm so sorry to read about the loss of your Mom Deanna. Thank you for sharing your story with me - it means a lot to me :).

Heather said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. My mom loves to take pictures. I'm the one always shying away. Next time, I won't. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Emily Kinsaul said...

So sorry for the loss of your mom. Thank you for sharing your story. This is something I struggle with but have been trying to get myself in more pictures.

AMC said...

Such a beautiful post! and so sorry to hear about your mom. I am like you, I would much rather be behind the camera than in front of it. I hate handing my camera over because inevitably, the picture will not be taken the way I would take it and I get frustrated - not just with how I look, but with how the picture turns out. But I know that I need the pictures for my girls, I need to be in them. (I also get frustrated when I look back on trips and realize that there is no proof that I was even there!) We've had to clean out a few family members houses over the past few years and one of the things that struck me with all of them was the pictures. We were blessed to have so many memories to go through, to hold on to and to smile about. So like you, I'm making an effort to get in front of the camera just a little more. And maybe I'll practice sucking in my tummy while I'm at it. :) Miss you!