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Are You Avoiding Photo Sessions For All The Wrong Reasons?

“I’ll schedule it once I (insert statement about unnecessary self improvement here)." Can you relate?

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"I'm waiting until I lose that 7 pounds. I want my bangs to grow past this awkward stage. My teeth aren't white enough. I really need to tone up."


I don't always love everything about myself either. Some days are worse than others. Some days the negative self talk is brutal, and no matter what I do or try to practice, those thoughts just sneak in from time to time. One day I might feel GREAT: my hair is perfect, those jeans fit just right and I am on top of the world, but the next?

Ha. Who knows..

- My eyes are too narrow.
- Those extra pounds turned into the shadow of a second chin overnight.
- How long has that wrinkle been there?
- My arms aren't toned.
- Is THAT what I look like from that angle?
- What shape is this?! Why didn't anyone tell me that this shirt makes me look like a baked potato?
- What is this magical makeup routine everyone around me seems to have implemented to create the illusion of insanely perfect cheek bones.
- Oh, and I hate my smile.

You get the gist.

Negative, I know, but let's not misinterpret this. I’m not waking up every morning saying horrible things to myself about my appearance, in fact, I take great strides to not dwell on these thoughts. It isn't my job to be pretty, and more importantly, when I really think about it, I don't actually care (at least I don't want to care) what someone else's definition of pretty is. It's not my job to wake up every day and try to shove myself into the shadow of perfection that has been imprinted on me over the course of my entire life through advertising and the media. It isn’t my job to live up to these standards and it is certainly not my priority. Okay okay, let me get back on track before this becomes a post on feminism (although, would you really be mad?).

So why do I sometimes feel a ping of physical pain in my gut when I catch a glimpse of a snapshot where I don't look “my best?” Well, I really can't answer that, perhaps its because I'm human. Perhaps it's a hint of guilt for choosing to have that glass of Pinot Noir last night instead of hitting the gym (actually, strike that, I’ll never, ever, regret that decision). Maybe it’s because no matter what I believe and know to be rational the negative thoughts just linger sometimes. I love who I have become, but sometimes it can still feel impossible not to carry the weight of what you’ve been taught to compare yourself to.

But here’s the thing:

When you push that all aside, when you stand in the center of a world that boasts such outrageous beauty standards and you realize that you are enough, that you are freaking marvelous, inside and out. That’s when true change happens.

See this photo?

Morgan Ellis / Via

This was the result of an afternoon self portrait session that came of me trying to take my own advice and get in front of the lens more often. When I downloaded the images I immediately flagged every single one of them as “rejected,” planning to permanently delete them because I genuinely LOATHED the way that I looked. I’m not sure what distracted me that afternoon, but I’m glad that it did, because when I stepped away and returned I had a new perspective.

I didn’t look at this photo and see it as a thousand imperfections. I looked at this and I saw it for exactly what it was. What it is.

This moment captured here, I have felt nothing better in this entire world than this: those arms around me, it's my favorite feeling, and luckily for me, it's a frequent one. I am adored. I love another human being more than I ever thought it possible to love. My heart is full.

I am so fiercely in love with this man and with the way that he loves me that I just want to shout it from the rooftops. If this is what that looks like, honestly, that's okay with me. It's more than okay actually, it's incredible. My life is freaking beautiful. This photograph is as treasured by me now as the emotion I felt when it was captured.

So let's just recap here:

Who you are in this very moment is enough. You are perfect. And even if you don’t agree with that yet, you’ll learn to, because to be honest, who you are right now is who you are right now. Maybe you'll change a little in a few weeks, maybe you won't, but this is who you are right now.

Love this stage of your beautiful existence enough to preserve it, document it so that the people who love you can hold on to these moments and find peace in them for years to come.

Document it so that you can look back and see how beautiful this life really is, how beautiful you really are.

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