When I was younger, I spent a considerable amount of time and energy on what I thought was the noble pursuit … of making myself taller. Yes, I knew all the tricks. I’d spend hours in the beauty parlor having my hair done in a style that was assured to help me look tall — unfortunately, I ended up looking like a pregnant bumblebee.I’d wear shoes with heels so high that I teetered on them precariously. I discovered certain designers whose clothes were carefully crafted with sleek lines to make even bowling balls look slim and lanky. So I’d buy these extra-long pants, which were supposed to make my legs look longer — but all they did was make me trip a lot.I walked around with constant foot trauma; spent hundreds of extra dollars on my clothes and hair and devoted countless hours of my time to shopping, primping, and fussing; and, of course, I used up enormous amounts of my psychic energy and attention in the pursuit of this illusion.Guess what? I’m still short!Of course, I’m also talking about being a very young woman who was trying to fit in, and who, often struggled with not enjoying being who she was. When I finally gave up trying to impress other people with the illusion of height, my life improved enormously. I no longer walked around in pain, I wore whatever clothes I liked, and I stopped trying to make my hair look voluminous.Acceptance of what is can be wonderfully liberating, but it can also create a great deal of inner peace and harmony. This is an incredibly difficult concept for a society that is constantly assaulting us with messages that most of us need some kind of a “makeover.” Not a day goes by without some ad telling us that we should be thinner, more successful, find our soul mate, be happier or live longer. These messages make it increasingly more difficult to simple “BE.”I love to consider ways of improving myself, but there comes a point where we have to realize that we simply can’t improve everything about our lives. In fact some of how we look and act make us uniquely different from one another. Those who really care about you will enjoy who you are, as you are, unless your behavior is harming you or others. I love the following quote by Oscar Wilde: “Be yourself, everyone else is taken!”
I was cleaning out the closet in my office the other day and came across two cameras. Both would be considered antiquated at this point since the birth of Smart Phones seems to have taken their place. It is now possible to take pictures at a moment’s notice wherever you are. As a result picture-taking has become epidemic. I am on Face Book and there are hundreds of photos that stream through the newsfeed on a daily basis. The types of photos cover a variety of people, places and things. But what really got my attention is a new type of picture called a “Selfie”. A Selfie is a photo someone takes of themselves. Often the self-portrait has a remark under it.” Thelma likes the picture of herself”. Then if Thelma is lucky, several other people will admire the new picture and add their accolades.
I would love to see just once, someone who had the nerve to say, “you know this picture of you is lousy”! I doubt whether anyone will do that, since it wouldn’t be kind, but when is enough, enough? I’m sure I’m going to be perceived as “not being with it”, but we certainly have moved into an era that is totally in love with self-aggrandizement. It seems we not only like to talk about ourselves but we also need to have pictures of ourselves that are everywhere. I guess it makes sense if we forget what we look like.
My family has always accused me of not being photo conscious and I’m in total agreement with them. I honestly don’t think about taking pictures. My family of origin wasn’t into it. Most photos were taken by a photographer on special occasions. I also don’t think it’s necessary to have a hundred shots of a group of people at a gathering unless it’s a wedding, funeral, or an affair of state. Here’s Aunt Wilma, sitting next to Uncle Harry. Now here she is drinking her iced tea. Oh, look, here she is under the table pretending to be a monkey.
Believe me, I think that having the ability to reflect on great memories through the eye of a camera is truly fabulous. But at the end of our lives, will there be someone who will have the time and energy to sort through and archive the mountains of pictures? Or would allowing ourselves to be more discerning in our picture-taking make sense? After all, isn’t one picture worth a thousand words?