I’ve talked about the problem of what to do with pictures our loved ones have left behind; the pictures we inherit. It’s a nuanced issue with much to consider. But right now I want to make the argument for taking more pictures. Of yourself. Today.
I feel like many parents forget to have pictures taken of themselves, preferring to turn the camera on their children instead. It’s probably a case of “I’m not changing, YOU’RE changing!” There’s a sense of urgency, a need to capture each moment.
But what about our own moments, as adults?
I wish I had access to a time machine, so I could take my little iPhone and go find my great-grandmothers and try to capture all those vital seconds from the days when they were young mothers, cuddling the baby who would one day become my own grandparent. If only I could step in to say, “never mind me, keep doing what you’re doing, I just see a person, a moment, that’s so beautiful, it’s important to take a picture for you.”
I mean, obviously this is impossible. And right now, perhaps some of us find the sheer volume of selfies on social media exhausting; we subconsciously rebel and will not take pictures of ourselves at all.
Or, we think we are not beautiful.
Truthfully, I’m writing this as a reaction to a dear friend who told me recently that she avoids the camera because she doesn’t like the way she looks in pictures.
I reacted immediately, barking at her: “Life is too short to spend it thinking you look bad in pictures. But also, YOU ARE GORGEOUS. Take those pictures, PLEASE. For your family, but also for yourself. And love how you look!”
I mean, I don’t want say that beauty is of the utmost importance… but I would love it if each of us, particularly dear camera-shy young mothers, would see their own beauty and record it.
Because I believe you should enjoy your own beauty and capture it. Whether or not you share it is up to you. But listen, to those of you who shy away from the camera, take pictures! Of yourself! One day, you’ll want to see what you looked like today… and you’ll say, “I was truly gorgeous”. (Yes, you’d better say it. Or better yet, declare it.)
Listen. Right now, YOU ARE SO VERY BEAUTIFUL and anyone who disagrees just doesn’t get it. That’s fine too. This is for you and about you.
Also, your loved ones will someday want to remember what you looked like today.
Also, life is too short to spend it thinking you are not beautiful.
You are beautiful. Think like it. Walk like it. Enjoy your you-ness… and take pictures of yourself. And your life. And those you love. It’s important.
My friend died last week. She’s younger than me. She and her husband have four bright-eyed, quick-witted children. She was a stunningly patient, kind, gentle mama to her children… and friend to us. I was in awe of her intellect and grace. I had not known her as long as many others in her life… but I was lucky enough to find myself in a new small circle of women, laughing, sipping wine, discussing books and life. It was within this circle that she took a deep breath and broke the heart-wrenching news to us. Cancer.
It seems unreal that she’s gone. And so deeply unfair. But I’m so grateful that she took pictures of herself, loving her family well. I feel like we should all do the same.
You’re here. You’re beautiful. You’re loved. Bask in it, and take those pictures.