April 15, 2016
Do you remember the first time you heard your voice recorded?
I was setting up my first answering machine in my college dorm and remember it so clearly. I practiced and practiced what I was going to say and then hit <record>, “Hi, this is Keri. I’m not home at the moment but if you will, leave your name and number, I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks a lot and have a GREAT day.”
Nailed it, or so I thought. Then I hit <replay> and was so confused. I didn’t recognize the voice AT ALL as mine! How can that be? I had heard myself talk a million times before and THAT was certainly not how I sounded at all. Or so I thought.
This same strange phenomenon seems to pop up for me with some pictures, but professional pictures specifically. I think it may be the poses or the “just right” outfit or setting, but there is something about them that I have a hard time recognizing ME in them. I mean, I know it’s me, because I was there when she took them, and I also clearly spoke into that answering machine too, but what comes out on the other end seems different somehow. Anyone else feel this way?
I know Frances did. She was not fond of most of the pictures of herself and only felt that this one below really captured her best.
This was take of Frances in 1888 just after she sued a man for pirating Little Lord Fauntleroy. (that’s another great story for another day)
“For once she thought the likeness “really excellent”, so it gives us a good idea of how she liked to think she looked: intelligent, thoughtful, a little quizzical and severe, not “fluffy” at all.” -Ann Thwaite, Waiting for the Party: The Life of Frances Hodgson Burnett
So, just like the voice recording, when it came time to have my professional pictures taken for this project, I practiced and practiced. I spent the month before fretting about what to wear and how to stand.
I even went so far as to watch videos about how to take good head shots. The video said if you push your forehead forward that you will get a better picture. Evidently I was doing it all wrong because my sweet photographer asked me to stop doing the “forehead thing” immediately. Well, today I got to see my first picture from this shoot. Did my hard work and preparation pay off? Bella, my awesome and talented photographer texted me and asked if she could post on Facebook a “super cute” photo of me. Of course, since she said it was “super cute” and because the curiosity was killing me, I said YES.
Armed with my internal (admittedly sometime negative) self-talk, my first look at the picture was critical at best.
Who was that person? It didn’t even look like “The Me” I know and see every day in the mirror, in store window reflections or in those silly selfies I take with my kids. All I could see was that my eyes were squint-y, my nose wrinkled, my hair was fuzzy, and the couch looked weird. It was fine, not terrible, but “super cute” I could not see.
But as I let it sink in, I did my best to shut down that voice in my head and search in the photo for what she saw. And, after looking at it a few dozen times (OK maybe more), holding it at different angles, up close and from further back, I finally saw HER.
SHE kind of glows. And HER eyes are smiling so much they can barely stay open.
And man, does SHE know how to hold a wine glass.
SHE is genuine, SHE is happy, SHE is imperfect, SHE is brave, SHE is lovely, SHE is ME.
ME in my 40-ish glory. ME sick as a dog with a fever, but powering through with the help of my great friends and a bottle of Prosecco. ME checking one more thing off the list of a million scary things on this new creative journey.
This is truly ME.
I am ME.
SHE really is Me.
My mother and I took a watercolor class from a very talented woman named Jeanne last year, and one of the things she taught us was to stand back and get a better PERSPECTIVE on your work. She would make us stand up and look at it from a different height. Somehow, that takes you out of the detail, brush strokes and small mistakes to a place that you could appreciate it in its WHOLENESS.
PERSPECTIVE is definitely something we all need in our lives. Sometimes, we get so stuck in the muck and the mire that we forget to view ourselves and our lives from a HIGHER PERSPECTIVE.
And the air is so much better UP HERE!
From a HIGHER PERSPECTIVE, you can see a whole field of flowers and not just one weed. From a HIGHER PERSPECTIVE, you can see a life of JOY, and not just the tough bits in between. From a HIGHER PERSPECTIVE you can see that your life is MORE than just the laundry you are folding for the millionth time.
LET’s CHAT ABOUT IT:
How will you stand back a bit today and look at your life, your relationships, your job or yourself from a new and HIGHER PERSPECTIVE?
How do you think this will change your attitude towards these things?
Wishing you a day so much HIGHER than the muck and the mire,
FHB and especially Me
P.S. After writing this, I sat down to do my bible journaling the next morning and this is what God gave me:
“These people will look and look, but never see. They will listen and listen, but never understand…” Mark 4:12
Dear Lord, Help me to see myself in the WHOLENESS of YOUR PERSPECTIVE from on high, and not through the critical lens of the world. Help me to SEE when I look, and Understand what I hear, using YOU as a filter through which I see my Family, my Friends, my Work, F.H.B. and of course Me. AMEN
He lifted me out of the slimy pit; out of the mud and mire, he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand…Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you have planned for us!