In the fall of 2010, I was lucky enough to be chosen to participate in a 100 strangers project here in Ottawa. The photographer in this case was Kym Shumsky. She eventually turned all the photographs into a book to raise funds for Operation Rainbow Canada - She even had a little get together where a lot of the strangers got together – it was awesome to become strangers no more. You can see the pictures at Le Mien & if you’re looking for my pictures, I was #31. At the end of my shoot, I had the opportunity to sit & chat with Kym & our conversation resulted in a bit of an “a-ha moment” for me. A realization that being our own worst critic really doesn’t do us any good. You can read my thoughts on that in a previous blog post; 100 Strangers.
Though the wisdom from that experience stays with me most of the time, I
sometimes often have to remind myself of what I learned.
This past weekend was one of those moments. A boy asked me to the beach. A very attractive & fit boy even… Though he had to do a bit of arm twisting, I said yes. We’ve been on a few outings already and always enjoy each other’s company, I kind of figured if something was going to make him run away screaming, surely this would be it ;) And yes, I am mostly being self-deprecating here, but there genuinely is a tiny part of me that thinks that some people would just reduce the essence of who I am to what I look like in a bathing suit…
A funny thing happened though. Not only did he not run away, he thought I looked great, and wondered what I was worried about. (And yes he earned bonus points for that…) But it made me wonder about why we put so much more value into what others think versus what we think/see/perceive… Recently my friend Candace over at Life in Pleasantville blogged about what she called a Reality Check after someone posted AN AMAZING picture of her from an event in New York City. I actually 100% recall seeing this photo being posted by the photographer (Cherie-Lynn Buchanan) and thinking “Man, Candace looks awesome in this picture!” So what a shock it was to read that she goes through the same insecurities I do – and I suspect most of us do.
I worry about what message I am sending to my daughter if/when she sees me not being comfortable in my skin, worrying about what other people think or talking out loud about some flaw I perceive that I may have. And don’t even get me started about what we see in the media, that’s enough to make me want to put her in a convent until she’s 35 :)
But you know what happened the day I pushed though my insecurities and I went to the beach? I had a great time. Discovered a new beach, by just deciding to throw caution to the wind and just going where the GPS decided to take us. And we capped off the day with a great dinner & I discovered The Newsroom (I am SO hooked – and yes, late to the party!)
Maybe that’s partly the solution (and definitely the part that we can control), we can have those small moments of insecurities, but we need to push trough them, need to remember that society and the media and the expectations we feel are manufactured and self-imposed…. And next time *your* inner critic speaks up – just tell it to shut up. Ignore it and see yourself as though you were seeing yourself through another’s eyes. I promise you’ll be much gentler. And you know what, you may even just have a little fun!