Finding Myself in Pictures

People should get medals for surviving high school.

In high school, I was never the pretty one. I was the smart one. The Smart One sits on the bleachers and watches her friends cheer for their quarterback boyfriends. She sits against the wall at the Homecoming Dance, pretending not to mind that she has no date, no one to dance with. She dreads Valentine’s Day, knowing she’ll never get one of those stupid roses they sold all week in the halls.

I did have a couple of boyfriends back then. But the ones I really wanted never seemed to want me back.

All those years, I felt fat. Unattractive. Strange. And now, I look back on some pictures from that time in my life and wish I could be that weight again. I wonder why I let myself feel so defeated. And it makes me think – was it my looks that held me back, or the way I FELT about my looks?

What I know is – I felt UGLY. Until Jon came along, that is. He seemed to think I hung the moon. He loved to look at me. He called me pretty.

I of course attributed this to the fact that he moved in from out of town and didn’t know any better. But then…I started ACTING pretty. More boys found me attractive. It was very odd.

I, like so many other women, changed routine once married. I really changed once Seven was born. I no longer cared so much about being pretty. I, for lack of a better term, let myself go. I stopped shopping for myself. My makeup ran out – whatever. New hairstyles? Not in years.

I felt ugly again.

Then the news came in March. You know the news. And that shot of adrenaline pushed me. How can an event so ugly push me into feeling better about myself?

I wanted to look better. I wanted to feel better. And I knew he was looking.

I’ve started wearing my makeup again, not to hide behind it, but to feel better. My wardrobe got a kick in the pants, and the new clothes encourage me to get dressed out of pjs and therefore out the door, out into the world again.

People are noticing.

You may have seen some of the pictures on my personal Facebook page. All were taken with my iPhone, so, nothing fancy. But I took them to send to Jon throughout the day, to remind him I am here.

I am here.suswedding

I know I am no beauty queen, but having people, especially men (sorry, ladies) comment on the way I look is a boost. So, again, I start thinking. What if these boosts can really add up? If you are subjecting yourself to the world to judge, and you hear good things, will YOU start to believe the good things? Even a little bit?

So – that’s my idea. And If I write it all down here, maybe that will encourage me to follow through. Sure, I would LOVE to have other ladies join in with me. Play along silently, or play along publicly. I was shocked to see so many readers comment on Facebook that they have self esteem issues. I look at each of you, and I am so envious. You are all so talented, attractive, and successful in so many ways – how could you doubt yourselves? But, maybe you think that about ME, too? I don’t know. It’s a crazy world we live in.

But back to this project.

Every few days I am going to challenge myself to do something for ME. Things that I hear make women feel better about themselves. Silly or crazy, I will try things. First up, eyes. I’m gong to pick a picture out of a magazine and copy the eyes as best I can. Maybe I’ll like it, maybe I’ll hate it. But it’s all in the trying. And then? I am going to photograph myself. I’m going to put that picture out here and wait for judgement. Good or bad, it’s all about putting myself out there. I’ll post the pic by Friday.

I want to feel better. Don’t you?

I’m not sure if it will work, I have no preconceived notions about this project at all. But I do hope. I hope that there is some magic number out there, some number of positive reinforcement that pushes me out of this funk. I hope there is a magic number out there for you, too.

I intend to post those pictures here, on my blog. In this hidden category. But I also intend to post the picture on Facebook as well. If you have Facebook, I challenge you to do the same. It’s a leap, I know. Believe me, I know.

I want to say one more thing before I go.

I wonder something else. Remember being the girl who wanted that certain boy? And he never noticed, or, he broke your heart? I have this sneaking feeling there was a boy that felt that way about YOU, too. Somewhere, there is a man that still has that schoolboy crush on you. Maybe he’s watching still. Join me here. Take your picture.

Smile for him.

And smile for that jackass who didn’t notice you THEN. He’s kicking himself now, I guarantee.


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