This morning, I got to thinking about perception. Mainly, it was about our skewed perception of how we see ourselves. Or, maybe our take on ourselves is totally accurate and it’s everyone else’s view of us that’s off…I’m not completely clear on this.
Hey, it’s Halloween. The day where people dress up to be anyone but themselves. So, of course I would make this mental jump to personal perception. It's me, people...
Do you remember the first time you heard your own voice on tape? Did you respond as I did with, “WTF? Ew. That’s not me. I do not sound anything like that. That’s not even funny. I sound nothing like that in my head. Please tell me that’s Phyllis Diller and not me.”
Actually, I feel pretty much the same way about me in photos. What the hell happens between the me that I see in the mirror and the one that winds up in that photograph? Nine out of ten times, I absolutely abhor any and all photos of myself. And so, it became a jaw-clenching, stomach-churning moment when I needed to download a profile photo of myself for our website at work. Don’t these people realize how difficult this is? Most of the team just snapped photos directly from the cameras atop their monitors via Skype and were done with it.
Me?? I’m still that default photo…
…which could suffice as a better likeness than the real me, if it wasn’t for the lack of hair. We all know how I feel about having good hair. Mine needed to be colored that day...and we all know how unflattering that office lighting can be. Are you insane? I'm gonna need a color, cut, makeover, better lighting and a hefty cocktail before I'd even consider doing this. I mean, really.
And I know what you’re gonna say…so don’t even bother. For all your huffing and puffing about everyone looking great in every profile photo, only you and your trusty non-verbal camera know how many takes it took before you were comfortable enough to hit the “publish” button to upload your image for the entire world to see….so don’t you be judging me.
I find that these days, the camera is not my friend…and I’d swear it’s not returning the same image I see staring back at me. I mean, where I’m seeing this:
…the end result looks more to me like this:
Something’s gotta be wrong with this camera…or maybe it’s the stupid flash...it's too bright and it's picking up strange, foreign...shadows, or something. Maybe I need one of those white umbrella-thingies they use in the model photo shoots that'll make me look all soft and willowy. Or, maybe I need to take a crash course in Photoshop…and learn how to take those eyes…and combine them with that smile…and erase these wrinkles. I just need one decent shot where I don't look old, fat, plain, lopsided, messy, stupid or downright ridiculous. Is that so much to ask??
Or, maybe I should start posing for photos more like my friend Phyllis, there…and just go for the ridiculous…right from the get-go. Then, when I look awful, at least it’ll look intentional. Now, there’s a serious thought.