As my grandmother got old and was suffering with dementia, she started destroying pictures, especially ones of herself. I am not exactly sure why she would cut up the photographs or how she felt, but several photos were destroyed. Frankly, it is a loss to my family and our memories of her. The few photos that remain are precious. When I look at her pictures, I remember her sharp wit and sarcasm, her deep love for her grandchildren, her intellect and work ethic, and her nervousness and temper. These memories make me smile and feel sad at the same time because I miss her deeply.
I think the current culture that is obsessed with selfies and body image can be really brutal to the mother behind the camera. Sadly, I have also found myself carefully curating and editing any pictures I upload publicly. I also want my best and prettiest side to show. I don't think that is necessarily wrong especially if you want to maintain a certain image. But if it is preventing you from being in photos or including yourself in family scrapbooks, then it has gone too far.
Sometimes I find myself ruthlessly purging pictures of myself as I critique flaws such my chubby cheeks and double chin, sun spots, bad hair, etc. Only the best photos are saved and printed. And even then, I don't scrap them very often.
Over Memorial Day weekend, I was at the lake in my swimsuit playing with my kids. And I mean, really playing with them. We had water fights, jumping contests, and lots of practice swimming. I didn't wear or bring any makeup. I took photo after photo of my darling kids.
Then it occurred to me... I needed to take photos of myself too, in all my natural glory. The perfectly coiffed mother wasn't there on that trip. The regular mom my kids know was there, hanging out and having fun with them. I don't want them to wonder why there are no pictures of me when we have these family outings.
I will probably still carefully curate photos on FB and Instagram (I do have a little vanity after all), but I will start printing my own photos and including them in my scrapbooks. I don't think my kids are going to be looking at my wrinkles or chubby cheeks, but instead will remember me and smile.
Do you censor and edit your photos that your family sees? Have you ever decided to change that? Did it change your perspective?
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