I hate the way I look in photographs. It is the rare photo indeed where I can look at it and be happy with how I appear. Part of it is that I have an uncontrollable blink reflex, so I look half stoned in many pictures. But even when my eyes are wide open, in the overwhelming majority of cases I will still hate how I look.
This is not a new problem. There was no picture of me in my eighth grade yearbook, because both the first round of pictures and the retakes were so lousy that the teacher in charge of putting the yearbook together acceded to my heartfelt plea to leave them out. (Seriously, I was grateful that she was honest enough to agree that the photos were horrible, rather than giving me some BS pep talk about how they weren’t that bad. They were that bad.)
[Aside — when I lived in New York City, I worked at a hospital that received visits from Santa Claus during the holiday season. Now, this Santa wasn’t just any old St. Nick, but the real deal Santa from Macy’s, the “Miracle on 34th Street” dude who closes out the Thanksgiving Day parade. Cunning me, I thought I would get a picture of myself with Kris Kringle to show kids who might be scared to be in the hospital. I figured if it looked like I was chummy with Santa, maybe they’d be more at ease with me. Unfortunately, true to form, the picture came out terrible. I looked like a demented elf. I discarded the picture lest children fear for Santa’s safety if they saw it.]
Now, I tell myself that I’m not photogenic. That I must look better than that in real life. I just photograph badly is all. The only problem with this happy delusion is that people will often look at pictures that I think are just heinous and tell me that I look perfectly nice. Which indicates a far more troubling possibility…
I just look as goofy in real life as I do in pictures. Those aren’t “bad” pictures at all! NO! They’re perfectly good pictures, and I just look like that!
Needless to say, I find that latter prospect deeply unsettling.
So that’s this week’s Question — what Hard Truths have you had to face about yourself? What would you prefer to deny, but are forced to confront? What does an honest self-assessment reveal that you’d prefer to pretend isn’t there? (NB. In the spirit of Stupid Tuesday questions, I’m referring to minor personality quirks or silly, anodyne idiosyncrasies. If the truth you’re hiding from yourself is a deep yearning to go on a multi-state crime spree or torture small animals, perhaps that’s best saved for your analyst.)