I love pictures! I have photos all over my home. Framed images of a moment in time that was captured forever. Looking at a photo brings back all the memories. I love pictures…just not pictures of me!
I grew up in the the era of cameras and film on a spool. The time of dark rooms and self developing. The days of photomats and ordering duplicates. Way back when we had to wait to see if there were any “good”(or incriminating!) photos and to see what we actually did at that party! I remember ordering pictures and having to request color or black and white. I remember wasting a whole roll of film on over/under exposure, running out of film, and a dead camera battery. I came of age in the era of digital cameras which moved to cell phone cameras. The cameras on cell phones are so advanced now that It is a rare occasion for me to drag out my trusty Nikon.
I love being behind that camera taking the photos. It is where I feel safe. Looking at life through the lens provides a completely different perspective. Therein lies my dilemma. Being a business owner and coach, people want to see photos of me. That makes me uncomfortable. I have spent years looking at the person in the mirror and being so cruel to that girl.
Growing up I was picked on and teased a lot for the way I looked. I was the “fat girl,” the girl with the big butt, the girl with the “brace face,” the one that never really fit in. As I grew older I projected this persona of confidence, the loud life of the party. Inside, I was slowly dying. I was constantly worried about what people were saying about me behind my back. Back then I knew nothing about anxiety so I starved myself, made a tons of crappy choices, drank, went out with bad boys, and kept everyone at arms length so they could not see my weakness.
That anxiety and cover up spiraled into a marriage to a “badboy.” I thought the feelings of insecurity would go away once I got married. Nope….things only got worse. I became a mom and thought the insecurity would go away. Nope….things only got worse. The person I thought was the love of my life used my weakness to gain an advantage over me. I could not do anything right. I was a “failure as a mom.” I needed to get in shape and was “too fat” for my own good. My hair was too long/too short/no blonde enough. The list was endless and the negative comments were never ending. Slowly it all wore me down. I lost myself. I disappeared behind the camera lens. There are many lost years where there are no photos of me with my family or my kids.
Fast forward to this past week….I stood in the background on a trip to the apple orchard watching my teens take photos of themselves. I stood and watched as they “hyped” each other, fixing clothes and hair for each other and suggesting poses. It was a joy to watch them! Then I mustered up all my courage and asked them to take a photo of me. They all “hyped” me up and helped me pose. I was afraid to look at the photos and waited until I got home. I chose one to post and still looked at what was “imperfect” but not them….they saw what was beautiful. Sure they filter and facetune their photos but for the most part, they post photos of themselves with abandon! Me? I just post the photo they tell me is “the one!”
I shared with them my feelings about photos and how I hate photos of myself. Vulnerability is uncomfortable but I am pushing myself! They suggested another photo shoot at the house. I needed photos for the website so I agreed. I mean if I hated the photos, it cost me nothing but time, not like the old days!. So I let the kids play. They did my makeup, styled my outfit and my “look” then took the photos. They told me how sit, smile and where to look. I was soooo uncomfortable but we had fun and got some great photos (according to the kids!) Honestly, if there is one things kids today know how to do, it is get the right angle and find the light for the camera.
What I didn’t realize until I was on the outside of the frame looking in was that I was looking for a place to belong and someone to love me. I spent years looking for someone to tell me I was beautiful and mean it. For someone to tell me I am perfect just the way I am.
I grew up but never grew into my own skin. It took therapy, being on my own and the love of my kids to help me realize that the person I was looking for was right in front of me all along. She was staring me right in the face. It was ME. I needed to love me. I needed to accept me. I needed to see my own beauty. I needed to love that girl I was looking at in the mirror.
I still look at photos of me and see the imperfections. But I also see the beauty that is far more than skin deep. I finally love the myself and the skin I am in. So take all the photos. Ask others to take pictures of you. Delete the ones you don’t like. Keep more than you delete. And post the ones that make you happy. That photo is only a moment in time but the memories are forever!


There will always be critics, haters and difficult people in your life. Those people that judge you for so many reasons. No matter how sincere your intentions may be, no matter how positive your actions may be, there will be those who find a way to criticize you. For one reason or another, someone will find a reason to project their insecurities, negativity, and fears onto you and your life, and you’ll have to deal with it. When that happens, keep in mind that the criticism is their problem, not yours.
I have learned to embrace the criticism and use it as fuel. It has much about myself and about my critics. I am grateful for those that want to judge and criticize me. Grateful for haters? YES! Without them I would never have known how much I can tolerate before I say “enough.” I would never have learned to create and hold boundaries. I would not have had the courage to stand on my own two feet and live my truth. I would never have realized that I only needed to fight for me to protect my heart. I am grateful that though their judgements I have learned what I stand for and what is important to me. Without those difficult “sandpaper” people in my like I never would have learned to love myself, becoming the woman I am today.
I occasionally look back to remember what I leave behind and to see how far I have come. I’m not upset or angry about the past, nor am I envious of the people and things I leave in the past. I leave behind people to deal with their own demons. I leave behind all the hate, anger, judgements, and criticism of others. I leave behind all that no longer serves me.
I look towards the future and move forward. Every day is a new day. I choose not to give power to the critics and the haters. I choose not to allow anyone but me control my destiny and my future. Those critics are afraid of a strong woman. They are afraid of a woman who has stepped into her own truth and light. A confident and courageous woman is intimidating to others. Why? She has nothing to fear, nothing to lose but everything to gain. She carries herself with pride and dignity. She might stumble here and there but that crown never wavers.
When you’re being criticized, it means you’re making a difference. So rather than allowing criticism to stop you, smile, straighten your crown and step forward into your greatness! Always look forward and keep moving forward!