Facebook has been the best playground to observe human behaviour in all of its wonder.
Earlier this week I posted a photograph of myself taken 3 years ago. The photographer is a man I admire greatly for his creative insight-I “get” his work. Anyone whose soul is moved when they are exposed to creative works (whatever the modality) will understand what I mean when I say that.
My photographer understood my personality. Perfectly. He understood my lack of confidence in front of the camera…my discomfort with that particular sort of attention. We discussed at length what I wanted and how that vision would connect to my blog-my creative outlet. I wanted my readers to have another piece of me to put together a “picture” in their head of who I was and why I write.
Aside from a friendship already there, there was a certain level of trust and an ability for the two of us to communicate on an honest basis.
During the session that day, he caught a moment where he saw me in a different light. He snapped that moment. Capturing it forever.
Because he “saw” something. Whatever it was, it compelled him to push the button. What he caught was a very different “look” to my “normal” face that interacts with the world every day. That photo became my introduction to the “About Me” section of my blog.
That photograph is weighted in meaning for me. So many things about it are a juxtaposition to my “everyday” face the world sees. I was sad. A bit resentful. Angry. Lost. Indifferent. Intense.
And not smiling.
It’s amazing when someone sees something and reflects it back to you so that you can see yourself through their eyes. There is an instant clarity.
He loved the picture. I loved it too. It was and remains one of the truest photographs ever taken of me. It is not the face everyone sees. But it is MY face baring my soul in that moment.
I posted that photo on Facebook this week. I received a comment from a friend who said that “although you are beautiful inside and out, this picture does not look like you”. The comments then extended into a typed communication whereby this friend explained that the photo made me look sad. That it wasn’t a “true” representation of who I was. It didn’t look like me.
Initially I was very taken aback by her comment. Hurt. Especially because those comments were typed for the world to see. And I perceived it as a critique on how my physical appearance came across to her.
And as I mused about it, I realized how little people actually know about me. Truly. That even those who we might describe as “closest” to us often don’t truly glimpse at the soul level. Beyond the game face we each have.
And I became very aware of how much I had disappointed her perception of me. I no longer fit into this box that she had built around me with labels and ideas that weren’t necessarily consistently true.
She had looked at that photograph and had not liked what she saw because it did not fit her idea of who I was.
Ironically, it was exactly who I was in that moment.
And perhaps we all spend too much time trying to fool people into believing we are otherwise.
“A thing that you see in my pictures is that I was not afraid to fall in love with these people”~Annie Leibovitz
Thank you Beaver Smith for falling in love with something you saw that day and helping me to love and accept myself right where I’m at.
**please check out Beaver’s insanely beautiful photography on Facebook. Living in Qatar has fed his creative soul as you will see from his work