When it comes to my appearance, I have the opposite problem from most women.
With only a mirror and my own psychotically high self-esteem to be my guide, I have ridiculous, rose-colored perceptions about my own glorious beauty. Unlike most women I know, there is no Gremlin that lives in my head constantly harping on all of my faults and flaws.
In fact, instead of the Gremlin, I have a slightly tipsy fairy-godmother somewhere in my head. She’s what I imagine Tinkerbell might be like after a couple drinks. Always there in the back of my mind, pouring another glass of wine, and saying things like, “Don’t listen to the haters, Honey; you’re gorgeous! You’re like a younger Christina Hendricks. You’re a voluptuous Natalie Portman. Like Adele, but less talented.”
With Drunk Tink taking up all my headspace, the Gremlin has had to find different accommodations. So that wily bastard took up residence in my camera, and comes out to wreak his mischief every time a lens is pointed in my direction.
I am notoriously unphotographable.
I get a panicked, deer-in-the-headlights look in my eyes, “Oh dang, please don’t let there be anything in my teeth, how do I make my double chin go away? I can’t breathe with my tongue pressed up to the roof of my mouth like this. I’m going to suffocate! Is my eye doing the weird uneven squinty thing? Why didn’t I wear Spanx today? Strong jawline, strong jawline. Stand up straight. Pop a skinny arm! How do I pop a skinny arm?! Oh God help me! Mayday Mayday!”
When looking into a mirror, I instinctively hit all my best angles and expressions and as a result, the mirror tells me that my face and figure are a gift to the world – a grace to all who behold me. I walk out of the bathroom with all the confidence of the Evil Queen before Snow White hit puberty. Or at the very least I can believe that I’m not an embarrassment to my entire species.
Then I take a selfie and the Camera Gremlin is all, “Haha, j/k – Ur a troll.”
This is why I usually go a year or more between social media profile picture updates. I do not invite the Camera Gremlin into my life; instead preferring the warm glow of my own self-delusions. Up until a week ago I could justify the fact that I had no selfie skills or current photos — I wasn’t hiding from the Camera Gremlin! It was because I had a horrible camera. Yeah. That’s it. Terrible camera. My phone only had a dinky 2 mega pixel camera, and the photos that it produced looked more like something that you’d see on Unsolved Mysteries — a vaguely humanoid shape in a grainy, dimly lit background.
But last week I finally upgraded my phone, and I got a drastic new haircut — which means that I now have a proper, crystal clear, 16 megapixel camera with me at all times, a new ‘do, and no excuse. In the wake of my haircut, my mother insisted on a new profile picture.
After an hour of fruitless snapping, I had exactly zero photos that I recognized as the luminescent creature that I saw in my bathroom mirror every day. I also had shed any delusions that the bad photographs of the past years were due to my old terrible camera.
It is OBVIOUSLY due to the bad lighting. Duh.
Drunk Tink said so.
But actually, I’m finding that my shiny new camera is gradually robbing the Gremlin of his power. With the power to snap a photo whenever, wherever, less pressure is put on any individual photo to be perfect. A couple of the photos I’ve posted this week:
I never would have had the chutzpa to put these images out into my perfectly curated social media stream when I knew that those might possibly be the only images of me up for the next six months – now my next redemptive Glamour Shot could be only minutes away.
You bet your sweet bippies.
Watch out Instagram – there’s a new sheriff in town.
Photography by Molly Moon