Self Love

Don’t Throw The Photo Away

A couple weeks ago I was combing through old photos from my college days, looking for the absolute best ones that I could pick to post to Facebook.  Ones that depicted an ideal life, symmetrical smiles, meticulously styled hair, perfect everything.  Going in, I knew I had a whole bunch of photos I thought I looked terrible in, so combing through the hundreds that I had was going to be a tedious job.  I regretted my haphazard photo taking as I began the task.  It would take a long time, I thought, and I’d be cringing at every stupid face or goofy smile I made.

Then I started… and nothing was wrong.

I love every photo I took.  The smiles I thought were crooked are the grins of a girl in complete bliss over her friends, her surroundings, her world.  Silly faces made captured joy.  The last two years have been the happiest of my life, and I have photo proof of almost every occasion that made it happy.

So because of that I feel shame.  How could I ever think that that joyful girl was ugly for smiling?  I’m not boasting that I’m beautiful, but I feel like I need to apologize to myself for the years of squirreling away photos out of the fear of judgment.  I realize now that I was my harshest judge.

In addition to the shame however, I also feel relief.  What if my shame took me so far as to stop taking photos entirely?  Or, what if it took me further and I decided to delete the ones that I thought were unsightly?  Years of documentation would be gone in a moment of fleeting impulse.

Related:  Please, Just Let It Out

So reader, I implore you: if you feel the same way that I felt about the pictures you have of yourself and your friends, do not throw the photos away.  It’s tempting to give yourself a momentary self-esteem boost by deleting things you feel are unsightly, but I beg you not to do it so you won’t face the regret that I was on the precipice of experiencing.

You look just fine, and I’m sure the you six months from now will think so too.

me at the beach

In celebration of finding photos once hated that I now adore, here’s a picture of me stacking some rocks. I kid you not, I thought this was an ugly photo when it was taken last year. Dumb.
– Shannon

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