But First . . . .

I have never had the courage to post  a “selfie.”  Which means that today, I’m going to face my fear and show the world just exactly why I have never had the courage to do this before.

Let’s face it: I am not a photogenic person.  It doesn’t really matter who is taking the photo.   I just don’t photograph well.  My eyes look beady, my nose looks red, and my lips practically disappear.  And we’re not even going to discuss the whole “camera adds ten pounds” nonsense, because pictures of me show a lot more than ten extra pounds, none of which are the fault of the camera.

I don’t look good in pictures.

I once read an article that gave all kinds of detailed explanations about why mothers so often use pictures of their children as profile pictures on Facebook.  The author had theories about mothers losing our identities as we begin to see ourselves only as wives and mothers rather than as individuals worthy of using our own pictures.

Yeah, I don’t really think it’s all that complicated.  I can’t speak for other mothers, but I use pictures of my kids because they look better than I do.  Their pictures are much more pleasant to look at.

When they were babies, I was always sleep-deprived.  I usually had puke, poop, or some other bodily fluid on some part of my body or clothing.  Money went for things like diapers and formula for them rather than make-up and hair color for me.  So really, I wasn’t much to look at, much less photograph.

Now that they’re older, I’m still sleep-deprived and penniless, although the whole bodily fluid thing has slowed down.  (I say “slowed down” instead of “stopped” because my six year-old managed to spray vomit all the way across my queen-sized bed and even the walls of my bedroom last night.  I think I may still have puke in my left eardrum.)

But I can’t blame my kids for everything.  I wasn’t exactly photogenic when I was younger, either.  Even before gravity, age, motherhood and maple trees had an impact on my appearance,  I didn’t look good in pictures.  I remember going on a school trip to Mackinac Island in my senior year of high school and posing for a group picture on the porch of the Grand Hotel.  I felt beautiful that day, and I remember that I was smiling hugely for the camera.

I looked like a serial killer.

Now, my daughter is just the opposite.  She’s one of those people that the camera just loves.  She’s not a vain creature, but she has taken hundreds of selfies over the years, and she looks beautiful in all of them.  I don’t know how she does it.  Yes, she is beautiful; but how does she look good in every single selfie she takes?  Just once, I want her to get a full-on shot of herself with one eye half closed, in mid-sneeze or something equally awful.  Just to prove there’s justice in this world, you know.  Just one bad picture of her, just to make the universe seem a little bit more fair.

I also have some certain . . . er, technical difficulties when it comes to taking selfies:

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Need I say more?

This is my favorite selfie ever, although I think the technical term for it is “ussie” because it has two people in it.    I look happy, if a bit demented and only slightly overwhelmed by a really bad hair day, but I like this one.


Of course, I didn’t take it, so I don’t think it counts as a selfie.

It was taken on the same day as this one.


I hesitated to share this with anyone because it makes me look “fat.”  I tried to blame it on the wind blowing up inside my blouse and making me look bigger than I really am, but  . . . well, I am what I am.  And in this shot, what I am is happy.  Strong.  At home in the one place that can heal me and make me whole again, no matter how I look in pictures.

Me and Lake Michigan.  Now that’s a great picture.

This post is part of Finish the Sentence Friday, in which writers and bloggers finish a sentence and “link up” their posts. This week’s sentence was “I have never had the courage to…”  

For information on Finish the Sentence Friday,Join our Facebook page! 

Author: A.J. Goode

I am a romance novelist, single mother of three, and a high school lunchlady. To be completely honest, I have no idea which of those jobs is the most rewarding and which is the biggest challenge. I love them all. I write romance novels about the kind of people who might pass me on the street every day. My characters are often hurting in some way, and need to learn to trust others in order to heal themselves. I also blog about trying to focus on writing, and about my day-to-day experiences in small-town America. I write about life. The good, the bad, and the just plain odd.

14 thoughts on “But First . . . .”

  1. I’m glad you posted those. First you look younger in those pictures than in your profile picture but also, being a limited English person, I never imagined Lake Michigan to have a beach and waves like the ocean. I thought it would be…well a lake!


    1. Thank you, Margaret! Yes, we’ve even had hurricane-force winds in our lakes, as well as waterspouts. That particular day was pretty windy, but the waves weren’t very big compared to some of the really wild days.

      There is no more beautiful sound to drift off to sleep to, than the sound of waves pounding their way up on the shore while the foghorn howls . . .


  2. I love that you shared your selfies! I have a hard time posting photos of myself these days too… and actually you just made me remember something – so perfect timing. Tonight, we’re having professional photos taken for holiday cards (yes, it’s quite late) and I was planning on having the photog only take pics of my son because he looks so much better than I do! But (and this is what I remembered)… I read something recently that talked about a woman who had very few photos of her with her mother when she was younger…. and I have very few photos of me with my son (because I look icky) BUT does he think I look fat? Does he notice the squinched eyes? Or does he just see me? Ya know? So I think after reading this that I’m going to go ahead and have the photog take some of all of us too. Because someday, I’ll think I looked good now (compared to then) AND someday, maybe my son will want a photo of his mom. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t see me as old fat and ugly. I’m pretty sure he just sees me as me… so thank you! And thank you for linking up to FTSF!! And!!! You’re beautiful! 🙂


    1. Thank you so much, Kristi! It’s been a real journey for me to be able to share those pictures, and believe me, it took everything I had to hit “publish” on this post when I was done!

      Please, please be in those pictures with your son! When I broke my neck all those years ago and thought I wasn’t going to survive the night, one of my biggest regrets was that my children were going to be left with almost no pictures of me. I always TOOK the pictures so I didn’t have to be in them, and I my foolish vanity could have cheated my kids out having a way to remember me.

      I’ve spent most of my life waiting to look better before I let anyone take my picture, and I’ve just finally grown up enough to say “screw that!” Fat or not, I am who I am, and I want to be remembered.

      Thanks again for commenting, and please show us all YOUR pictures that you get taken tonight!


  3. You are beautiful! A smile tells the truth each and every time. We simply live in a warped universe these days. Photoshopping is one thing, but cutting, chiseling, injecting crap into crevices? What is that all about? I’d rather embrace my 62 years than worry about “What will the neighbors think?”

    I feel for those who alter their appearance in a hopes of living eternally beautiful; sadly, they wind up looking fake, not normal, and they catch that dreaded stress of lining up for their next nip and tuck only to realize that they have lost their sense of control over their obsession.

    Some of the sexiest men are bald. Some, short in stature. Few have six pack abs, and some haven’t the latest vehicle. But I find them real. And there’s nothing more beautiful than a genuine soul, male or female.


  4. Hi: thanks for posting your selfies here. I understand that it was difficult to do so, but you are helping not just yourself, but other Moms who are hesitant about their appearance and sense of self-worth.

    Plus, it looks like you were having lots of fun at Lake Michigan — w00t!


  5. Grinning here over the “I looked like a serial killer …” and the techical difficulties pics. My two had to demo the art of taking a selfie for me many, many times. I still don’t have it down pat. Blurry, wrong angle etc. Good on you for being courageous today. You’ve nudged me to step into more photos with my kids too.


  6. This is a lovely, honest post. To share your inner feeling as you have done takes real courage. About ‘selfies’ – I’ve never done one and don’t intend to start doing so now! I’m far too old and close-ups are a no-no! It’s bad enough when my kids thrust the camera up much too close. I spend my time shooing them away. Great post.


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