Camera Shy

I am not a beautiful woman, but aside from one day a month when the moon is bright and high and my system and ego run haywire—I just don’t care.

I feel pretty inside.

I like my eyes and my hair and my un-thin lips. My heart is full and I’m generally content. I’m surrounded by a fine man and a good boy, a loving extended family, and friends who know exactly how I take my coffee. And oh yes, the crazy dog.

I’m happy with who I am and where I’m at.

Yet despite that quiet confidence, the minute a camera gets pointed in my direction, I get nervous. Really nervous, as if that small tool with a lens and a shutter truly could steal my soul.

black, camera, cute, eyes, girl


The last time I looked good in a snapshot was circa 1975, when I was too young to care if the photographer caught my “good” side. Now, whenever I hear the words Smile! or Get together!, I cringe. I get self-conscious and I start to flush. The color creeps up my neck and my face and I look like I’ve tipped the bottle back one too many times. I overcompensate by smiling too wide: a habit I learned decades ago to avoid braces catching on my lip.

I look ridiculous. And drunk.

And because that happens I hate the picture, and the cycle continues.

And yet—apart from those instances when I have to flip a photo over or resist the urge to un-tag myself on Facebook—I feel pretty, no matter what the film says.

My heart says “pretty.”

My soul says “pretty.”

My smile and my laugh and how good it feels to sit with friends and share our days says “pretty.”

I’m a child of God, and when He put me together He had a specific design in mind, which—above any earthly reminder—says “pretty”. It says it loud and clear and with an unconditional love.

And who am I to question that?

Linking up today to “We Encourage” at Call Me Blessed and “Playdates with God” at The Wellspring, and the lovely Amanda at Serenity Now for the Weekend Bloggy Reading Linkup!

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  1. you are too beautiful!

  2. I agree with Mary — pretty?? Try beautiful. Beautiful not only because of how you look but also because of who you are, how you treat others, and the goodness in your soul. That is some kind of beauty. YOU are some kind of beauty! [You also laugh easily, have a great smile, pretty eyes…should I go on?!] Oh stop blushing! 🙂

    • I AM blushing! Truly I am blessed with such good friends. Thank you, darlin’. I guess my point was it truly doesn’t matter what the outside says as much as how you feel on the inside. We can all pick ourselves apart and not hold our heads high because we’re self-conscious about something, OR we can choose to embrace the glow we feel within. Know what I mean?

      75 minutes and counting, my friend!

  3. Michelle,

    Beauty is as beauty does…and you do SO many beautiful things for and say so many beautiful things to and on behalf of others, that your physical beauty (of which you possess in abundance, I impartially wish to add), is yummy icing on the fabulous cake! (You deserve a much more dramatic and breath-catching analogy here, I am certain!)

    Anyway, thanks for the reminder of what’s truly important to show the world. It means a lot! My almost 16 year-old daughter announced the other day, without motherly “provocation” or suggestion, that she likes her eyes…”I think they’re pretty. I like them!” “So do I, Honey,” I said, and all the rest that comes along with them!” She then proceeded to give me a lesson in eyeliner application, which we both couldn’t help giggling through. Grateful for those moments.

  4. Kathy, you are so good for the soul! Thank you.

    And I love that you and your daughter had that moment. You are doing a wonderful job, Momma, to give her the confidence to say that at such a young age. I was not so wise at 15! xoxo

  5. Bonnie Lyn Smith says:

    Yes, Ma’am! Great post!

  6. And you are beautiful. 🙂 Your words and friendship are both so beautiful to me. 🙂

  7. Thanks, B!

    And Rach, right back atcha, girl.

    xoxo to you both!

  8. Love these words: “I’m a child of God, and when He put me together He had a specific design in mind, which—above any earthly reminder—says ‘pretty.'” . . . So true!

  9. I am struck by how secure you are in His love and in the way He sees you. And I think your beauty shines…

  10. I think yours does, too, Laura!

  11. You’re gorgeous! Popped in from SITS!

  12. It is a rare creature who can look at photos at themselves and not be at least a little weirded out by what they see! I hate seeing pics of myself as well. I always get scared.

  13. Found my way here from Write on Edge. Great post. I once had a photographer tell me, “You know, you either look really great in photos, or kind of scary.” Sometimes it seems that the definition of beauty has gotten so narrow. It’s easy to pine for the days when a full head of hair, most of your teeth and a bit of meat on your bones made you a beauty queen!

    Because of a kind of elongation of the generations in my family, I only knew two of my grandparents. The others died long before I was born. When I start feeling self-conscious of my too-long nose, my enormous forehead (even my husband who thinks I’m beautiful calls it an “eight-head”) or my goofy grin, I try to remind myself that all those funny pieces came from somewhere, from relatives who I never knew, but who might well have been delighted by all of me, not just my looks.

    Great topic and great perspective on it. Glad to have found you.

  14. Pretty is such a hard word to escape. But feeling beautiful, thinking you’re pretty is so much more than just what a camera captures!

  15. This was light and strong at the same time. And very, very pretty.
    Came from the WOE linky.

  16. Hehe, I totally get your perspective, I hate being in photos and I don’t think I have regular good days however. My problem I have eventually tracked down to the fact that I have a ridiculous mobile face and am therefore always caught pulling strange faces! 😉

  17. Love, love, love this. Photographs are limited in their ability to capture pure beauty because beauty is so much more than just a moment frozen in time.

    Thanks for visiting Raising Humans yesterday!

  18. Popped in from SITS! IT’s so wonderful to see real beauty!

  19. True beauty is in the heart. I believe you have that, Michelle.

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