Yesterday, I did something that, for me, is both exciting and incredibly scary: I got my picture taken. In an effort to “show up” a little more in my branding and in my business pages, I partnered with my dear friends and vendor comrades, The Ramsdens, for a “branding” photo shoot.
Wait…Why is that Scary?
I honestly can’t remember a time when seeing myself in photos didn’t cause me some anxiety. One of my first memories involving having my picture taken was in 2nd grade. It was picture day at my dance class, and a classmate made a point of telling me that I looked fat in my costume. Needless to say, that was devastating.
Through high school, college and into adulthood, I almost always avoided being in photos, and when that was not possible, I would move myself to the back of group photos where my body would be obstructed from the lens. Although I have had some great experiences with photos in my life (I love my engagement and wedding photos so, so much), I remember feeling incredibly anxious about being in those photos for weeks and months ahead of time.
For a long time I was convinced that my fear and anxiety over being in photos had to do with my fear of being seen and judged by other people. But that’s not true — the reality is, I was hiding from myself. MY gaze was the one I was afraid of, because my self-talk and my interior monologue has been so unkind. And when I say unkind, I mean UNKIND. I would never speak to anyone the way I routinely spoke to myself.
A few months ago it dawned on me that because of my fear of showing up, there really isn’t a great photographic record of my life. If I ever have children, I will not have much evidence to show them proving that I was here, and that I lived, laughed with friends, loved my husband, started a business and made a career for myself in making special, magical moments. So, I decided to stop treating myself like a “before picture” and something that should not be seen, and committed to start showing up, in my life and in photos, just the way I am. Because who I am now is worthy of love and acceptance, not just from others, but from myself.
Fast forward to today. I took a leap of faith, put myself in the hands of a dear friend and BOMB photographer, and committed to being myself in front of a camera. And, friends, I am so thrilled to be able to say to you that I LOVE these images. I see myself — happy, comfortable and present.
I owe a debt of gratitude to my friend Caitlin Ramsden, who made me feel so comfortable and special in front of her camera. Her cats and puppy were running around us, which made me SUPER happy, and we chatted and listened to music and she directed me so well and generously through our time together. For any brides reading this who may be camera-shy like me, I cannot recommend The Ramsdens enough for your wedding photography. Thank you, my sweet friend.
I know that my struggle to show up is not over. But I am committed to leaving a record of my life, my work and my loves. Here’s to facing fears, accepting ourselves, and showing up in the world as we are.