I hate to have my photograph taken.
Regardless of how well done the photography is, it’s still a picture of me and automatically is unacceptable because I, myself, am unacceptable I come by that critical self-image honestly — my mother has always hated to have her picture taken and my sister and I have continued the tradition. All three of us, though, gave in to the momentous nature of the occasion and allowed ourselves to be photographed (together, even) when I was down saying goodbye to my mother in June. No matter how much I hate to see myself, those photographs probably mean more to me than just about any other picture I have and for that I love them.
When I came home, I downloaded the photographs from my digital camera and came across some videos I’d taken of my cat and I to show my mother. (I never did show my mother the movies as there always seemed to be other more important things to do and say, and it was clear from her eyes that my mother really couldn’t see well.) I re-watched the videos as I downloaded them to my computer, and I was surprised to see glimpses of what I’d been as a young woman. I’ve gotten so used to the idea that I have lost those aspects of myself, buried them irretrievably under hundreds of extra pounds and ageing features that look more like my grandmother’s every day.
But maybe it’s possible to leave the fun house mirror behind after all.