I love to take pictures, but I will go to great lengths to avoid having my picture taken.
Despite my strong desire to avoid being photographed, it’s nearly impossible to avoid completely. Proof of that is a picture a friend took when I was in college.
My friends surprised me with a birthday party, and someone snapped a picture as I walked through the door. I wasn’t prepared for a camera; I didn’t realize the picture was being taken until the flash went off. It was a completely candid shot, and it revealed more of me than I’m comfortable with even now, more than twenty years later.
There I am, standing in front of a door that has just shut behind me.
One hand is up, caught in the act of pulling my hair forward to my face. I recognize it as a defensive maneuver; it bothers me that I felt the need for it in a room full of my friends.
I’m wearing baggy pants and an even baggier sweatshirt. I wasn’t skinny–I carried 135 pounds on a solid 5′ 2″ frame–but I remember feeling obscenely fat. I’d kill to be that weight now.
My head is down, avoiding eye contact. Again, a defensive move that makes me uncomfortable now. An awkward smile is half-formed…I look ready to run.
I can be loud, funny, fearless. I can be. But it’s just a well-crafted disguise, not who I am. I put it on like other women put on makeup.
I am that awkward person in the picture, painfully shy because I’ve been surprised and haven’t had time to put on the mask that makes me the person I’m supposed to be.
This is why I hate having my picture taken–cameras can’t be trusted to see the disguise.
This post is in response to a prompt from Write On Edge to write about a photograph of yourself in 300 words or less. When you are captured in candid moments, what does the camera show that you’d rather it didn’t?
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