April 11, 2012
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As a lifestyle photographer, I am paid – and expected – to get involved with my clients on a pretty intimate level when I’m shooting. It takes a lot for someone to truly drop all inhibitions and just be themselves when you’ve got your own personal paparazzi – it’s intimidating, right?

I do try my absolute hardest to make sure that’s not the case, though. And a big, BIG part of that, as far as I’m concerned, is first and foremost from MY end of things. I have to be MYSELF with my clients first, before I expect them to allow me the privilege of seeing them for who they truly are. Right?? Right.

…Which is why I am here to tell you a few things about me today. Some things you should know, might want to know…and, let’s face it, maybe some stuff you DON’T necessarily want to know…’cause that is just how I roll. 😉

The most prominent disclaimer that comes to mind is that I am not a polished person. “What do you mean by ‘polished,’ exactly?” Excellent question. Let’s refer to Dictionary.com’s #2 and #3 answers: “naturally smooth or glossy; elegant”. Now, not to say that I don’t try….the good Lord knows I do. Oh, do I. But, as with most things in my life, but particularly in this one area, Murphy’s Law is ALWAYS proven right.

BUT, don’t take this the wrong way – I am not a huge mess of ugly chaos either…or, at least, I don’t think I am. I’m just not one of THOSE girls….you know. Those girls that are polished. Whose hair and makeup is always immaculate, whose outfits are expertly put together and coordinated and trendy…and it always manages, somehow, to STAY THAT WAY.

Do I put a lot of effort into trying to look nice? Yes, of course. Do I meticulously apply my makeup and style my hair and arrange my wardrobe? Yes. But, inevitably, when I walk out the door, something like this always happens: I trip and fall, bust something on the sidewalk, injure myself and/or damage said wardrobe; a bird poops on my head; a large vehicle somehow blows excessive amounts of grass/dirt/mud/water all over me, etc etc.

Think I’m kidding? I’ll give you an example. And this is just the tip of the iceberg, I can assure you. When I was a freshman in college, my cousin Heather and I went to see a movie together at the mall. Before we left, we were getting ready and Heather begged me to let her do my makeup…so I did. I was wearing a purple (read: plum) shirt that day, and she was still in her matching-eyeshadow-to-clothes-stage, so guess what color eyeshadow she put on me? Yep, plum. I pretty much looked like I had been punched in both my eyes. Of course, being the trusting, loving cousin and friend that I am, I assumed when she was finished I would look normal and didn’t look at a mirror afterward…which was clearly a mistake.

So we get to the mall, and we’re walking around and I keep getting stared at…like a mutant (which is how I am sure I looked). But, I didn’t know this at the time, of course, so I was a little confused. I am used to people staring at us when I’m with Heather, but not at me, and definitely not the way they were looking at me, which wasn’t very reassuring. It was more like, “Wow, look at the freak show” staring instead of “Woah, hottie alert” staring. But, instead of being too suspicious, I shrugged it off and we went on to the movie.

The movie (Bridget Jones) was rated R, and technically, at 17, Heather was too young to get in. So we waltz up to the ticket counter, and I am all like, “Be cool” to her, and THEN they hassle ME -scowling- and ask to see my ID. Immediately after that, Heather asks for the same ticket, to which they reply, “Sure, miss – here you go. Enjoy the show.” No ID check. (Again though, in retrospect, I am surprised they even let ME in at all, given my appearance. Maybe they felt sorry for me?)

Fast forward two hours, we get out of the movie, and the scowling, gawking etc continues as we walk through the mall. Heather was such a pal – either she was seriously oblivious to it or got some sort of sick pleasure in watching me get mocked by the general public. So I FINALLY go into a fitting room and, look, to my horror, in the mirror. Where I see a girl who looks like she BADLY misapplied her mother’s makeup and/or has been assaulted in the facial region. I’m talking plum eyeshadow UP TO THE EYEBROWS, PEOPLE.

Suppressing my urge to violently kill Heather by throwing her off the top level of the mall, etc, instead I screamed – still in the dressing room – and then stomped out and pointed to my eyes, and bellowed, “I. LOOK. LIKE. I’VE. BEEN. FREAKING. PUNCHED. IN. BOTH. MY. FREAKING. EYES.” Heather’s only response? Apoplectic laughter. I just stood there, watching her roll on the floor laughing…and after a few minutes, I surrendered as well. We laughed for about forty years about that. All the way out of the mall, all the way home. Literally. I still laugh so hard that I cry when I think about it.

But, yeah, not exactly what I’d call “being polished,” really.

I think another  excellent – albeit fictional – example of said unpolishedness is embodied in Bridget Jones (…so it’s kinda funny that my story included that film.)

I LOVE Bridget Jones. I always have. I got the books when they were in the “new release” section at Kmart in the late 90s – before anyone had ever heard of them- and devoured them at the ripe age of 14. Bridget is, I’ve always felt, my literary soulmate.  Anyway, if you’ve read the books, you know Bridget, though lovable, isn’t polished. She does try, but she just isn’t.

That’s me. I’ve realized that I will probably never be one of those graceful, immaculate women. I’m ok with it. It doesn’t mean I’m any less significant of a person. It doesn’t mean I am not nice, down-to-earth, and professional. I have concluded that it’s God’s way of ensuring that I will always have a sense of humor. You can’t have stuff like that happen to you all the time and NOT have one.

So, here’s to even more laughs birthed in the throes of my abashed unpolishedness. Bring it on.

 “I am a child of Cosmopolitan culture, have been traumatized by supermodels and too many quizzes and know that neither my personality nor my body is up to it if left to its own devices. I can’t take the pressure.” –Bridget Jones’ Diary