Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Finding the Beauty

When I take pictures, I feel I see something more than what is normally there. I am amazed at how souls seem to shine through. I tell people that they look great and I am not lying. They do look fabulous to me. Every time, I am awed by the uniqueness of an individual, and the personal, candid, natural, beauty they have.

Except...when it comes to me. 

I kinda strongly dislike pictures of myself. But I like pictures that I take, so I keep thinking that I should be able to take pictures of myself that I like; that I will suddenly see what I see in everyone else I shoot.

There will be days that I think I look pretty good. And I will think, 'This is it. This is the day that I will take a picture of myself and it will be fantastic.'

But it is still me. And I still don't particularly like it.

Sometimes I think it must have something to do with how I always see myself backwards. In a mirror, you see just that...a mirror image. You don't see what other people see, or what the camera sees. So, perhaps I am surprised by a symmetry that I am not used to.

Perhaps I really am my own worst critic. In general I have fairly high self-esteem. On a scale of 1-10, I am an 8—in looks. In humor and brains and other things, I am probably closer to 9.5. I am pretty awesome. But why can't I capture that?

My body is getting older too. The wrinkles don't bother me too much. I like to think my smile lines are there because I laugh so much. The white hairs are less desirable, but they could be fixed. There is no cure for the chronic dark circles under my eyes, but shouldn't I be proud to bear the mark of a mother or anyone who puts something else before sleep? And yet, often when I look in the mirror, I don't connect with the person there anymore.

I still like myself mind you. I just don't like pictures of myself. There will be the rare occasion where I find a picture that makes me smile. All these ones scattered in here are passable, but then again, I was able to use Photoshop and not display the really awful ones. (Trust me, there were plenty.)

I don't mean to sound vain. There is obviously nothing wrong with my face, body, or hair. There have been people who have suffered accidents or illnesses and have been physically scarred for life. I do not mean to make light of their sensitivities and their search to find themselves in a new face or body.

I just wish that sometimes people could see me through MY eyes. That will never be possible. At least, not here and now. I believe Heavenly Father can see me the way I see myself. And I believe that the Savior can feel the things I feel. Perhaps, the idea that we will be our own judges in heaven is not too far off. There can be others who stand and assess whether we did right or wrong, but what if it was right in our own eyes? What if we were trying our best with what we had to work with? Is that what it means when the Savior says that man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart?  (1 Samuel 16:7)

If that is the case, we will once again be our own worst critic. We will know when we have not lived up to what we could have done. We will know what our true motives were.

But I should do okay for that test. I love my spirit. My soul feels brighter than the clay tabernacle that houses it.

I'm sure if I could take a picture of what is on the inside...I would be beautiful.


CarrieLu and Madi too said...

What an insightful post. Just so you know, I think you have beautiful peaches and cream skin, I've always thought so. Your hair is getting long too!! It looks pretty. It's interesting getting older, with all of the things we gain and some of the things we lose.

Scott and Svetlana said...

I agree - You ARE beautiful and smart! I wish i had some of that (including some self-esteem)...

Emma Jo said...

I could echo just about everything you said (except I have a few more "anxiety wrinkles on my brow".) When I look at you I see serenity and peace, happiness and fun love of life and family. Someday these pictures of you will be priceless to your girls.

¡Vieve! said...

That's a great post! I never realized that maybe the reason pictures of myself seem weird is because we're used to seeing ourselves backwards, so to see us as people see us is a change. Good thoughts! (And great pics too)

Kellie said...

Love your post! Thank you for sharing it Maleen. You truly have a gift for seeing the beauty in others! Love it! (p.s. I think you are beautiful even if what I see is backwards to what you see!)