Crow’s Feet and All

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As evidenced by the number in the bottom corner of this picture, I snapped this for my 365 Challenge. I've made it a habit, every couple of weeks, of scanning my Flickr set for this project to make sure I've got a good mix of subjects; namely not just Max!
As part of it, I'm trying to a self-portrait, or at least to include myself somehow in the photo, at least every couple/few weeks. Just like with scrapbooking, there's a lot of talk amongst us MWACs (Mom With A Camera) about including ourselves in our photos; it's so much easier to snap the shots of Max playing, or Max and Jamie, or Max and Geoffrey, or Max and Nana, or Max and ____{insert any name but mine}______ than it is to get photos of myself.
As women, we tend to be hyper-critical of ourselves; I can see a gorgeous photo of myself, snapped by a talented photographer, where I'm wearing a great outfit, in a gorgeous environment, with yummy light and perfect composition and a real smile, and all I can focus on is that a chunk of my hair isn't sitting right, or the clasp of my necklace is showing. It's annoying, and I hate it, but I can't help it.
Just like they use that “exposure therapy” technique for people with phobias, I'm fighting my resistance to liking photos of myself by taking more of them. Today, I was home alone for the afternoon. Jamie and Max were off helping my parents with some electronics setting upping, and the dreary grey day opened up just a bit as I sat on the couch, and the light got lovely.
I grabbed my camera, rested it on the back of the couch, and shot off a dozen or so frames. Of myself. Close-up and everything.
I'm in a grubby sweatshirt, and my hair is only OK, but I took them anyway. I experimented with angles, facing one way and the other, I tried looking every direction but at the camera, I tried eye contact… snap snap snap.
As I uploaded the photos to my computer and tried to narrow them down, this one really jumped out at me. (Side note: Some of them were really and truly awful pictures of me. I can't do that ponderous gazing off into the distance look… I just look weird.) It wasn't that much of a challenge to narrow them down; it wasn't like when I'm looking through shots of Max, where there's a hundred that I love and I only need one. Of the dozen-ish I shot, I tossed about eight of them right off. The others, it wasn't too hard again to narrow it down to this one. (Another side note: I'm not good at not-smiling pictures. I just look pissed off at something)
So I've settled on this picture. I start working on my standard editing; a little color pop, a sharpening effect, that sort of thing. Just as I was zooming in to fix a stray eyebrow hair, it hit me.

I look like a grown-up.

For just a second, I saw myself the way I appear to the rest of the world. A 33 year old woman, a wife and mother. An adult. I see the lines appearing on my forehead, the beginnings of the crow's feet that will only deepen with the passing of time. I wonder when those lines started appearing; I look back at my ID photo from my senior year in high school. I'm still me, I can see that for sure, but the lines of my days have been etched on my face. The crinkles and wrinkles are all signs of a life well-lived. (And now I have “Tracks of My Tears” stuck in my head. Awesome.)
This is the face that Max sees; this is the face he knows as his Mommy's. This is the face that Jamie tells he loves, the forehead he kisses. And it's the one that I see looking back at me in the mirror every morning, so I might as well get used to it!
The changes are slow, and there are those days when I wake up and would *swear* that there's a new dent where there wasn't one the day before, but it's what I've got to work with, so I'll just acknowledge each line as it makes its debut… one more bit to remind me to be thankful that I'm still around to gain those lines of age.

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  1. Great post, Derby! I was about your age (yes, only a few years ago!) when I finally started feeling like that said 'grownup', regardless of the fact that I had taken on those responsibilities many years ago. It's interesting to look where we've been and to actually see where we are. :>

  2. That is a gorgeous picture and this whole post is just so well said. We do tend to picture ourselves as were ten years ago, don't we? As a mom, with a thousand pics of her baby and her husband, I understand completely.

    And I look ridiculous when I'm not smiling in pictures. Like I'm crazy eyed and uncomfortable.

  3. Ah…the dreaded "Did Mommy ever go anywhere with all of you" collection of pictures. I totally get what you mean about not appearing in any photos. Mostly because I don't like pictures of myself. Gah. Why are we so critical of ourselves? I think that picture of you is very lovely 😉

  4. I must admit I clicked on your link because you had this photo as the thumbnail. Just from seeing the picture I knew that you would have something interesting and unique to say and I was so totally right.

    Stopping by from TRDC

  5. I love that picture. With out reading the post, it was a picture of someone I would want to get to know. Reading the post, I liked the picture even more!

  6. I can really identify with this post! From being critical of pictures of myself to realizing how grown-up I look to the rest of the world.
    I have a huge issue of being able to look at myself in photos and I tended to delete or ask my husband to delete them. One day, my beautiful daughter, stated that she didn't like how she looked in certain pictures…just delete them That's when it hit me that my self criticism has been unwanted leagacy of passed on. Needless to say, she looked wonderful in these pictures. It taught me to quit hitting the delete button and realize when people look at me they don't focus on the flaws….they focus on the light that shines from me.
    Just like I focused on the twinkle in your eyes and beginnings of smile. 🙂 I loved it! 🙂
    Thanks for stopping by my blog….so nice to "find" you!

  7. I think that's a beautiful photo. And I really liked this post a lot. I'm trying to do a better job of being willingly photographed too!

  8. I think it's a gorgeous photo! I want to get to know you just from the look in your eyes.

    Also, I think it's funny to realize we look like adults, even when we've been adults for a while. A girlfriend was just talking about how she forgot she was driving a mini-van the other day. She thought a teenager was kind of checking her out then realized he probably thought she looked ridiculous dancing around to the radio in her mom car.

  9. This was a beautiful reflection and really resonates. I, too, hide out of pictures, too busy archiving or worrying about how I look. And I, too, am sometimes surprised by what I see when I do catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror or in a photo. You captured those thoughts here. Well done!

  10. The picture in the linkup caught my eye right away. I love it.

    Love the reflection here too. I shall endeavor to follow suit, because I hate pictures of myself. Probably time to get over that.

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