We waited an hour and a half for this photo. This moment, with Santa. My kids were rockstars in line- and even though my husband and I didn’t plan on meeting Santa during our trip into the City last week, we spontaneously decided to see the Macy’s Santa was worth the wait.
After our meet and greet with this spectacular Santa, we were funneled into the line for buying the photo of said meet and greet. Yes, another line. By this time, H was awake and ready to eat, so I plopped myself down against a wall to feed him and my husband waited to purchase the picture for us.
When he finally found me again, he held out the picture. Our $21.95 proof of our moment with the Big Guy. Of course, my eyes went to find my face first. It’s only natural. And I looked terrible. Horrible. I haven’t seen myself looking so bad in a picture, especially one printed out, in years. Maybe ever.
My kids look great. My husband looks handsome.
This photo is the result of a long, tedious wait that tested the patience of us, the parents, far more than the children. I wasn’t expecting much. Everyone else in line was dressed in suits, ties, red Christmas sweaters. The little girls had tights and sparkly shoes on. The little boys had their hair parted and gelled. As you can tell from my kid’s get-up, we weren’t exactly planning on posing for a photo, but all in all they all look cute.
But, me? I can’t even describe it. A washed out obese lady, married to a man way out of her league with children who certainly got their good looks from their father.
It got me thinking, though. In today’s increasingly connected, image-obsessed world, sharing a picture of myself looking so terrible is not going to happen. We have control over every picture we take, pretty much. I can take the perfect selfie with my lips pursed just so, at the right angle, to look like my most appealing, ideal self. Even in group photos, we have the image right away to “yay” or “nay” and a re-take is instant and easy.
Retaking the photo with Santa was not an option.
It’s so rare that a picture I take of myself sticks around if I think I look too fat, my hair looks too messy, or I just don’t like to way I look. It’s instant digital trash. There was a time, back in the 90’s or early aught’s, where pictures of me looking unlike-the-ideal-me stuck around, but these days I have total control.
I had to really question myself and my reaction to this picture. Because I was ashamed, embarrassed, inflamed and really, does it matter? This picture is proof of the time we spent in line, it’s a memory we all made as a family and I’m embarrassed how I look? Why? Shouldn’t I just embrace a bad photo and get over it? Nobody will care, in fact, most people wouldn’t notice or pay it a mind, yet I know every time I see myself in the picture, I’m going to shudder.
I think what really rattles me is in every other photo my husband and I took of the day, all of them spontaneous and not preposed or checked, I look decent. Normal to me. But the Santa photo challenges this picture I have of myself in my mind.
Anyway, in an effort to embrace myself in all my bad angles, photos, and moments, I will share the full picture here. It’s on the internet, on my personal blog, and I also put it on our fridge at home, as a reminder to myself: imperfection is acceptable. And, I need to get over myself. And, it doesn’t really matter.
Please be kind, Interwebs.