Thoughts & Stories: Say.... "Cheese!"

This post goes out to every woman who doesn't feel pretty. And let's face it, that's 99.9% of us from time to time. 

I remember the day I didn't like my reflection. I was 7 years old, visiting my Grandmother in Alaska. My Mom had purchased me a polka dot dress for my big trip up North. For whatever reason, I was in the bathroom twirling around in it in front of the mirror when the distinct thought hit me..."I look...sorta big in this dress."

I truly believe that memory was seared into my brain for a purpose..though the reasons are still foggy to me at nearly 28 years old. If anything, It's helped me identify early signs of insecurity in young girls that I've mentored and spent time with. The early 90's weren't easy for me growing up, but the generation girls find themselves in now? I can't even imagine the thoughts that must be going through their heads.

Beauty is...a very important thing. It carries so much weight in fact, that it can both set free and entangle the senses. I don't just speak of super hot girls or my little pony. I mean beauty in the raw sense. Whether it be pain, success, or truly gorgeous defines our pathways of culture and the way we view ourselves. 

So what of the phrase, "say...CHEESE" ?


That is my LEAST favorite phrase. I cannot stand having my picture taken. It's not a complicated matter, I don't need a counselor to figure it out. Simply put, I do not enjoy looking at myself. And in the rare moments that I do enjoy "gazing" at my mug...I immediately feel guilty. So, it's an impossible situation.

This post could very quickly translate to an after school special vibe. It could also come across as fishing for "oh but you are so pretty!" type comments. Not what I want, in fact I'll even ask the 2 or 3 people who read this not to go there. That's not my intention with these words. I'm not here to talk about self esteem, self help, self motivation or firming up a better work out routine. I'm simply here to blog in my sweat pants and pose the simple question,

When do you feel pretty?

Think about it...figure it out...and start re-creating those moments. We can go after victoria's secret models with pitchforks in the night or rant about airbrushing, body image, and eating disorders until we pass out...but it's not going to do any good.

Figure out what helps you SEE beauty, and FEEL beautiful...and do your best to linger there as long as you can. Teach your daughters, nieces, friends and students to do the same. Do that and maybe, paired with lots of prayer and a little encouragement...they may just have a shot at beating the odds to enjoy the phrase, "say cheese".

I'd like to give a special thank you to a dear friend of mine who helped me get out of my comfort zone for a photo shoot recently. I'm an awkward lady, armed with a slew of "put myself down before they can" jokes in my back pocket. However Lavenda helped me live in the moment, relax, and just enjoy feeling lovely for a little while...and also not be afraid to share the pictures with other people. 

So here they are. However strange this sounds...a photo shoot was a HUGE challenge for me. Having done it, however, I think I'm one step closer to having conquered a couple more shards of insecurity, though I have a long way to go. Here's hoping you find a little piece of beauty today while looking in your mirror, or just observing the world around you. Cherish it, and do not be ashamed.

Check out Lavenda's photography by clicking this link: Lavenda Memory  

In the meantime, here's some pictures from our recent shoot: