I have spent years, not wanting to be in photographs – I have offered to take photos, I have made excuses and I have wished the ground to open up rather than be in a photo.
There are a few of me in my college days, back when the roll of film had to be sent away to be developed, but there’s very few of me in my 20s when I would dodge them at all costs.
I have thousands of pictures of my children, which mainly sit in photo albums on shelves and in digital files, but I am in barely any of them, which I guess I am fine with but there’s nothing that really captures me as a mum, interacting and playing with my kids because I would have discouraged this for fear of looking awful.
I have now realised that this has shifted – I take more selfies of me and with my kids and the kids take loads of pictures of me and with me which they keep and share. For Mother’s Day, my husband printed a family selfie I took on Christmas Day and it hit me that we don’t have a family photo of all 4 of us – my children are 16 and 13!
Now in my mid-40s I know this has changed because I have changed, I am happier in my own skin, I am more confident and I possess more self-worth. Not wanting to be in photos was about looking fat, looking ugly and not wanting to have that captured forever, not wanting to see that and to avoid anyone else seeing and maybe commenting on how awful I looked, imagining people laughing or saying “who is that?” with disgust.
This might sound ridiculous but this has been my reality for most of my life. But this reality has now changed – I am in more photos, I want to capture more moments with my kids and I care a lot less about what people think, I like me more now.