I recently had to go to the DMV. Every time I have had to go it has been a long drawn out process even if I go right when they open. The old local location had a horrible parking lot as well which made no sense. (If you are trying to give people a test that includes parking, it shouldn't be annoying for someone driving 10+ years to park a SMALL car.) The waiting room always smelled a little funky even when practically empty. Everyone there was some level of cranky.
After some grumble filled researching I discovered that some locations included "express" in their information. If you make a silly high pitched noise, our dogs will both tip their heads to the side with this "What??" expression. (Yes, I am comparing myself to my pets.) I did the dog head tip. Express means less stress, less time waiting, and an overall better mood throughout the trip. I was in.
I was in and out in a reasonable amount of time. While I did have to wait, it was reasonable. The clerks were in a good mood. One was actually singing. Singing. It was funny but I don't know if I would want to be listening to show tunes style music all day. (It's just not my style.)
I am not too thrilled with my new license photo. I was ready for the first take. I made sure not to tip my chin down which is a bad habit I've always done. I made sure my underbite (which is usually subconsciously kept in check) wasn't showing. I smiled a happy smile since I was almost done and out of that place. The second take I had smushed chin, a slightly off kilter smile, and that "ok when are you gonna take the next picture?" look in my eyes. Realistically it isn't horrible but it still makes me go "ih."
For the most part I have never been anti-camera. I have had the same squinty eyed wide goofy grin since I've been a toddler. I do my best not to do the duck face. I never really hated pictures of myself other than the 8th grade era but everyone has that awkward phase.
A few years about I thought it would be fun to try a 365 project. If you aren't familiar with this, it is where you take a picture every day. Some are based on specific subjects while others are whatever you feel like photographing. I decided to try a self portrait one. I never really mastered self portraits and having both a camera with a self timer that worked properly and a gorillapod I thought why not. While I started mastering the camera and the timing, I started hating the photographs. (The other people in the group were really cool though.) I was too often feeling rushed since I "had to take a picture EVERY day" to keep with the project. It was a question then of taking a picture to take a picture or not taking one so that it would be interesting. (I think it makes sense in the blogging world too with how much, when, what and whatnot regarding posts but that is a topic for another day.)
I was also doing this during a time when there was a bit more stress than normal. Money, health, routines, and misc other things got shaken up. We got through it all but it was tiring. It started showing in my pictures. You can only see so many photos you have taken of yourself with dull skin, tired eyes and dark circles before you start getting discouraged. I had put on a small amount of healthy weight (keeping me within my good BMI range for my frame and moving me from the lower end closer to the middle of it) but yet wasn't totally used to it. Hearing others make comments about me "putting on weight" was something new too esp when I had been asked "Don't you eat?!?" for years. (My fav was when I was enjoying a lunch that I ate frequently in front of the person asking the question.) I was starting to not like pictures of myself for the first time in over ten years. That wasn't cool.
I quit the project. It made me upset. It became a source of stress that wasn't worth it. There is supposed to be some sort of positive return when you are doing something that you choose to do. It doesn't need to be monetary. It is more that sense of "I did that and I am happy about it." I wasn't getting that.
Right now I am in the middle of where I was before that time and where I was during that time. I don't shy from pictures but at times I really am a mixture of reactions. Sometimes I absolutely love it. Sometimes it is just that "ih" like the license photo. Other times it makes me annoyed. I think back to when this never crossed my mind. I don't know if it was that project that changed my way of thinking but I equate that time with that change. Perhaps it is just being used as a scapegoat.
I want to get back to that point where I look at a shot of myself and even if I am making some silly face, I think I look pretty good. I know it is a mix of thinking, doing and taking care of myself. I know I am not alone and that others have dealt with this at more extreme levels.
This is actually one of the first posts that make me really pause before hitting publish. I totally respect other bloggers who are extremely open and honest about their lives. It's not easy even when it is just the first baby step into that area.