A friend of mine once confided to me that she’d been intimidated to talk to me at first because I always seemed so put-together. I laughed so hard that I snorted wine through my nose when she admitted this to me – when we first met I was struggling with postpartum anxiety so fierce that some days I’d have a panic attack just walking to the mailbox. I was anything but ‘put together’ but she only saw what I tried to project, an image – a quick snapshot of my life during school drop-off. She wouldn’t have thought that of me if she’d seen the rest.
When the kids were babies, every year we’d take literally 100s of pictures trying to get just ONE good one to use for the Christmas cards. That one where they were sitting still so the picture wasn’t blurry, looking at the camera so you could see their faces, smiling an authentic happy smile. That one where my thumb wasn’t accidentally in the shot or one that would’ve been perfect if it wasn’t for the cat walking by at exactly the wrong moment. Merry Cat Butt Everyone!! We’d eventually get the shot we were looking for… or one that was at least close enough because we were sick of trying for the perfect one.
But it didn’t take long for us to realize in looking back at pictures, that it’s not that ONE good picture that we enjoyed the most. It’s all the others. It’s the mess ups and goof ups because those, those are the honest ones. Those are the ones where life happened and we remember how it really was because life is never picture-perfect.
We started looking forward to our “blooper reels” and to this day, they are still my favorite. We have them for nearly every occasion. There are the dozens of pictures that we took on the first day of school trying to get one good one to share on Facebook. There are Easter bloopers and Birthday bloopers and Halloween bloopers.
Yet for every big occasion, every vacation or special trip, I find myself taking picture after picture still trying to get that good one – the one that I eventually share. And then I find again, as if it should be surprising, that years later that’s not the picture that brings a smile to my face. It’s some other one that will come up briefly on my screen saver, some picture that at the time I determined wasn’t ‘good enough’ or ‘share-worthy,’ that’s the picture that makes my heart lurch when I see it.
It’s funny because I know I’m not the only one who does this – who shares only the ‘perfect’ pictures. We are so very selective about what we put out there for others to see and we portray it as ‘real life’ but it’s not.
I’m inspired to try a new project, a true-to-life photo documentary of sorts sharing the real, nitty gritty, imperfect pictures of my day-to-day life. Sort of like the ‘honest selfie’ of my life. We’ll call it, “Sincere Snapshot Saturdays.” Because, alliterations are awesome.
But today, in honor of Throwback Thursday, here’s one to start us off – from the very first Holiday blooper reel…