We all have been there, haven’t we? I mean the pre-selfie generations, especially women… I know I have had that fear for decades, of having my picture taken while I am not at my best.
As a child, I hunted cameras. If dad pulled out the Polaroid or the video camera, I was the first up front, ready to perform and get the lens’ attention, while my aunts ran for their lives and hid where the camera couldn’t get a snap of them. I doubt I even really noticed their reaction back then… Until I caught the disease myself.
I don’t know when it happened. It must have been some time during my teenage years… Suddenly, I would flee all kinds of picture taking. I didn’t want to see my face immortalized. I couldn’t bare to look at myself. I hated it.
I just thought I didn’t want to have pictures taken of me. Or worse, SEE pictures of me… But it was deeper than that.
Not so long ago, I noticed I didn’t mind people taking a snap while I was in the room anymore… I didn’t get this urge to run to the bathroom when I heard “Gather together people….Let’s take a pic!” Au contraire, I even enjoyed going through pictures featuring me, young or older… Even those where I looked silly or just really not pretty at all!
It was the same me… On the pictures. But the me watching the pictures had obviously changed along the way, without clearly telling me about it… (that’s so me… not telling myself… I never tell myself anything… but that’s another story, the communication problems between me, myself and I) But what could have changed, that mysteriously made me comfortable with my own image?
In fact, I realized that during all those younger years, I just didn’t like me. I was the first to judge me, and I probably opened the door for others to judge me too. I didn’t like my face, I didn’t like my hair, I didn’t like my body… And I can’t say that I was too fond of the sensitive, unsecure and lost in her dreams girl I was. Not surprising that I didn’t want to see that girl in the mirror.
Over the years, I slowly but surely learned to like me. It is not an easy, nor a quick process, but one day at a time, I am getting better at it. I figured, since I am going to have to live with myself for a while (actually the only 100% sure “til death do us part” relationship I know), I might as well find myself some good sides!
The last year has been a turning point… I’m getting closer and closer to me, and I think it is a good thing. Liking me more, I tend to take care of me more also. So a whole cycle of changes have started… I eat better, I lost weight (yeah, without a diet… unfair eh?) I feel better about myself, even when I look at my thinner-than-thin thin hair, my scars and other physical flaws… I even stop sometimes, catching my reflection in a store’s glass window and just think “Hi there girl!!”
I am not afraid of cameras anymore and not afraid of mirrors either…
And I try not to care what others can say in my back… If they can’t see what’s beautiful in me, their loss… Ok, that’s still is work in progress. But spending three week almost all alone, all the time, I found out I was pretty strong in my own ways. Interracting with people who were getting to know me without the slightest clue about my past showed me the image I was projecting. And I think they met a nice, warm, open and funny girl. Locals always welcomed me with open arms and a smile, and other travellers were more than once drawn to me to share a moment of our respective journeys… I made genuine contact with perfect strangers, and it really helped building my confidence that I was a better person than the one I knew when I left Montréal…
Another step towards really loving that girl in the mirror…