I knew this day would come. I had to get a current photo of me for the blog. A photo better than the current blurred photo that I took of myself with my iphone. I had read about how important an on-line, blogger/speaker ‘image’ is crucial to how people ‘see’ you and/or take you serious. In fact there are articles written about how to project the ‘right’ image to your reader audience and the importance of ‘branding’ your image. So, I knew this day was coming.
I’d love to tell you that the excitement of her email matched the excitement of getting my picture taken, but I would be lying. It was more like the start of an internal panic – I didn’t exactly hyperventilate but I wasn’t jumping for joy.
About 3 weeks earlier I was part of a group photo that resulted in a ‘less than flattering’ image of me. Ugh! Was that what I really looked like?!? (I had on one of my latest sewing projects — it did NOT reflect a flattering image of me!!) I wondered how much ‘touching up’ a photographer would have to do to help me!!
I had been avoiding being the subject of photos for awhile. I knew that I had not been taking very good care of myself. I had been too wrapped up in the Kid’s life and making sure to meet other people’s needs that I neglected take care of my needs for the past 3 years. While I was taking better care of myself now, I didn’t feel camera ready.
So, I began a downward spiral spin of panic about getting my photo taken.
I’ll spare you all the ‘details’ of the spiral. However, the morning of the photo shoot wasn’t pleasant or calm at all. The Kid and I had a very, very rough start and by the time we reached his day camp, I was a far cry from the image that I wanted to project. (The ABC method of controlling my anger didn’t work this particular morning!) I only had enough time to drop him off and get to the store to find ‘the’ perfect outfit that projected the right image. Not only was he not cooperating, he was adding to my panic mode!
As I drove away from the camp – taking deep breaths and wiping away the tears, I felt the presence of God wrap His arms around me. What had I done? What was I doing? I had listened to and relied on my own strength instead of asking God for strength.
As I sat in the store’s parking lot before going in, I sat and prayed. I asked God to help me find the right outfit to project the image that He wanted me to portray. “Lord, just use me for Your glory to point people to you. Let them see Your image through and in me.”
Having a much more calm demeanor, I entered the store.
Funny thing is, I never found ‘the’ outfit! Instead I had good time talking with the store clerks, grocery shopping for my family’s dinner, and listening to praise/worship music. The only new thing I bought was a white t-shirt from Old Navy – a staple in my wardrobe.
Since the weather that day was 92 degrees F with 92% humidity – I knew I had to take some extra time so that my hairdo wouldn’t go flat as soon as I walked outside! I took the extra time to put the extra root pump plus in my wet hair and style it dry. I even dragged out my curling iron to make the ‘flip’ more pronounced. It was much more work than my usual routine but I had fun pampering myself in my air conditioned house as I listened to music. A far cry from the mood I had been in earlier in the day!
I arrived at the photographers and had a great time during the photo shoot in her studio! We did different poses with different scarves and hairstyles (pulled back is how you will usually find my hair!). During the shoot I found out that the name of her business, Image 1:27 Photography, references a Bible verse found in Genesis, Chapter 1, verse 27. ‘We are made in God’s image!’ How cool!?! Wasn’t that the verse that I had prayed earlier in my day!?! Only God would do that!
When I got the photos back I was stunned. I actually looked good! Of course, I wondered how much touching up she had done so I asked for the untouched photos too. I posted both below – the top photo is untouched.
I LOVE the touched up photo – it looks like I had my makeup professionally done – but that’s not what I look like every day. As I looked at the untouched photo, I noticed my imperfections. I have to admit, I like the lines around my eyes. They reflect all the tears, smiles and laughter that have been part of my life. The redness and dark spots are from the impromptu bike rides or park adventures I’ve taken with The Kid where I didn’t have sunscreen applied. And the smile is the same one that was in my wedding photos, on the day The Kid’s birth, and on the day The Kid’s adoption papers were filed. It’s the same smile you’ll see every time The Kid or Mr. Small Town wrap their arms around me, kiss me on the check and say, ‘I love you’ or ‘Thank you for being you’.
So my friends, that’s my online blogger/speaker image. An imperfect middle aged woman who doesn’t always have the perfect hair or makeup. A woman who loves God, her husband, and her kid. A woman who relies on God to help her become the woman He wants her to be. A woman who tries to see the positive in every situation, even if it takes some time to see it. A woman who isn’t a English or journalism major but still writes to share her humorous and real life stories with people she doesn’t even know, in hopes of steering them towards a personal relationship with the God of the Bible. And to her, that’s the best, and only image, she wants to project.
Blessings to you my readers!
p.s. I finally chose ‘the’ outfit that really projects who I am – an Old Navy t-shirt with one of my colorful scarves. It defines my style and who I am. In fact, if you invite me to speak at your event, you just might find me wearing it either in black or white, short or long sleeve depending on the season or … whatever is clean that day.