I don’t like the way I look.
My hair never quite does.
My jaw is off-set so that my face is lopsided.
I have buttocks inherited from my mother’s side. They are somewhat gelatinous, historical.
These are not opinions, they are facts.
As a result of this I don’t much like photos. Things are generally okay if I tilt my head slightly this way and don’t open my mouth very much at all, you know the sort of thing. However following a recent trip to the hairdresser, my stylist Chris asked if I would mind posing for a couple of photos. His review was coming up and my tamed fetlocks in all their flash-coloured awesomeness would do very nicely as an example of his ability. Slightly sweaty and compressed from the time spent in the chair, I agreed. ‘Don’t get my face though,’ I warned him, ‘there will be regrets with too much face.’
I stood up and cheered on by a small crowd of lovely people, immediately forgot all my internet-based training as to how to take a wonderful, non-shameful photograph. Shoulders back, stand up straight, smize, don’t dribble too much, all forgotten at the click of a button.
The photos were later uploaded onto Facebook, and I knew before I’d even seen them that I would hate them deeply. Not the hair (his hair talent is always fantastic), but the face. The TOO MUCH FACE.
And I was right.
At first glance every photo showed me hunched, skinny collar bones protruding too much, my nose out of shape, the longest side of my face closest to the camera and therefore making me look like a wasteland of pastiness, my half-smiling mouth looking as out of place as I felt beneath the lens. Just look at them. A remembrance of awkwardness flooded into my throat as I stared at the screen, laced with intense disappointment at my spoiling of Chris’s nice hair photo that he would be forced to show to his review board. Oh God, I’m so sorry.
But it was a picture of me nonetheless, and it existed for all the world to see. Because when you’re naked on the internet, everyone can see your foof.
Days passed and I almost became used to seeing my grimacing self staring back at me from my Facebook dashboard. I really wanted to like the photos because it was me in them, and because for once I didn’t have my face tilted at that one angle, and maybe I should just be able to goddamn accept that this is how my face looks, and that someone loves me in spite of it, and that someone was willing to risk his professional hairdressing reputation by featuring me in his review photos. I got a job with this face, and was once given a free coffee at the train station with a wink and a ginger biscuit, AND I had a fucking beautiful haircut.
Hell, I am awkward. I am pale. I do have a lopsided face. My butt is way more gelatinous than my chest area. My nose is slightly odd, as is my dress sense, my personality, my blog, and my haircut. Sometimes I like these things, and sometimes I hate them. When I pose for photos I look terrible, and when I don’t I look terrible too. I look terrible in general. I am terrible. My opinion of myself is terrible. But is anyone any different? Of everyone else in this whole world, all of whom don’t really look terrible, might look at my photo and think that I don’t look terrible, or that I do, and that’s fine, because we’re all equally terrible, in our own ways, terribly. You know?
I became proud of the photos because they showed me exactly as I am, without that little angle, but also successfully without the aforementioned drooling. They are photos of me in my most natural, awkward state. And just maybe they aren’t so terrible afterall.
Body confidence is not an easy thing to master. My sister once told me that she’d entirely given up trying to look good in photos because she had accepted the limitations of her own face, and knew that ‘good’ was never going to happen.
My sister is one of the most beautiful people I know.