Thursday, December 22, 2011
I've never particularly enjoyed having my picture taken. Although I'm a pleasant-looking person, I was unfortunately raised to believe that since I wasn't perfect, I was not attractive. It has taken me my entire adult life to "un-learn" this. I know that my mother did not mean to do this to me - but she did. Watching her hate herself for how she looked (GASP! She was a size 12-14 when I was growing up), made me learn to judge and hate myself too. Mom has OCD, and anxiety disorders (diagnosed by me - she'd never seek professional help) that prevented her from being a nurturing, positive force in my early life. She was not capable of unconditional love, and still struggles with that concept today.
Of course, I turned to food to numb the pain of my non-perfection and she flat-out did not know how to handle this. (Even though she overate too.)
Miraculously, I did not carry this cycle of pain forward to my own two children.
For this, I am forever proud and grateful.
Back to pictures - At family gatherings, Mom used to fight tooth-and-nail not to have her picture taken, sometimes upsetting everyone in the room before the struggle was over. It was awful - stress-producing and embarrassing. I, predictably, picked up this habit and carried it on until I had my own kids. At that point, I remember realizing that someone, someday, might be curious about what I looked like at 25 or 40 - my future generations should be allowed to see if they "looked like great grandma"!
It's not just about me, people!
In the family DH and I created, we don't take an abundance of pictures, but we try. When DD and DS began balking (at age 11-13ish), I took them aside and explained my reasoning, that their children's children might want to see them at 13, they each decided to put up with pictures patiently, and with teenage grace.
Here's to "breaking the cycle"!