That was not MY prime

There are things I remember about high school, no matter how good I am at blocking things out. Like, I remember, in a general sense, being awkward and gawky (not much of a stretch; I can still be fairly socially awkward today) and – let’s just say it – ugly.

Oh, sure, my parents would probably argue the point. Children are beautiful to their parents even when all evidence is to the contrary. People who love us see us through that love, and it makes us more beautiful than we are.

I think I will pause right there to think about how much love God has for us. For me. For you. Wow.


As I was saying though… a friend of mine from high school posted some old pictures. And as much as part of me is happy that I was part of those times with them, in another way it was a terrible shock.

OH MY GOODNESS. I really looked like that.

No wonder I had blocked that out.
No wonder I tend to hide from cameras, even today.

The first reality is that I don’t photograph nearly as well as I look. Some people are photogenic, and some of us are just not. For the most part, whatever is in us that’s beautiful is too ephemeral, too quicksilver, for the camera to really capture. I will always look some-percentage-worse in a picture than I do in real life.

Even with that in mind though… yuck. That was not just the camera being unkind. I looked terrible.

The second reality is that in those years, biology was playing a cruel joke on me. A laughably late bloomer, the only signs of the new influx of hormones on my body was an inconveniently irregular cycle and the ever-shifting tattoo of blemishes on my face. It was, in a word, horrible.

I had erased the extent of it from my memory. I went to college. I cleared up, filled out, grew up. Despite perpetually difficult hair, I came into my own.

Still, inside I carry some part of that self-perception, and I don’t even realize that I do.
You’re a more attractive person than you give yourself credit for, said the one guy who could say it without it being weird, or a come-on
.

Nevertheless, I would much rather be behind the camera than in front of it.

So I stare at those pictures my friend posted. The truth of it is plain, indisputable: my girlfriends were beautiful; I was not. “It was the prime of our lives,” recalls one as she dances down memory lane, but I stare in horror at the pictures… and then remember simply that That Was Not MY Prime.

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About aka gringita
Flotsam generator. Amateur photographer. Avid traveler. Christ follower.

2 Responses to That was not MY prime

  1. Em says:

    OK so I didn’t know you in school so I won’t fill this comment with reassuring phrases. But I will agree with you that some people just aren’t photogenic (I’m so NOT that even my friends don’t try to reassure me – they just agree)….and when I look back on the very few pictures from my childhood I’m a bit afraid.

    But I’ll also say that we judge ourselves much more harshly than others do….and perhaps some of it has to do with seeing ourselves “reversed” (since we can only look in mirrors) rather than as others see us.

    And the bottom line is that the unattractive kids (as long as it is just on the outside) tend to turn into the best looking adults because they don’t take their appearance for granted…instead, they are grateful for every day of clear skin and good hair and they work hard to be all that they can. If you’ve ever checked out any of those stars as kids photos, you’ll see what I mean.

    Like

    • aka gringita says:

      You’re right, Em. We ARE so hard on ourselves at times. In an odd way I suppose it was reassuring to be able to see the pictures all-these-years-later and be able to confirm that I was not just imagining it, it really was bad then, and it really is worlds better today!

      The other thing that was interesting to note – on the other side of the coin – was that although I had conveniently blocked how bad my skin was then, I can look at the pictures now and see that my self-perceptions were not ALL accurate. (Omigosh. And I thought I was fat?! Not hardly!)

      Thanks for reading & commenting!

      Like

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