When my daughter died I spent a lot of hours (still do) looking at photographs and the one thing that struck me hard was that I was barely in any of them. In fact I had maybe one or two with me in them with Livvy.
To be honest I wasn’t surprised but I was angry.
Angry at myself.
You see it hadn’t happened over night this camera shy behaviour of mine. From my teen years I have shied away every time anyone got a camera out.
I just hated how I looked, it was as simple as that.
It wasn’t always because of my weight because even as a size 8 I still hated seeing myself in a photo.
Yet as the weight went on so did my resolve to become the photographer never the model.
Having beautiful children was the perfect excuse, I wanted to capture them not me.
So then I found myself with no shared memories of me and my beautiful girl.
I had lived them but I had nothing to remind me.
It hurt like hell.
I wanted to remember the laughter we felt when we twirled her on the ice.
The daily messes we got into at meal times.
I had her smiles to see but I wanted to see my smile and remember my joy from that moment.
It hurt and I was so angry that I had let vanity or maybe shame rob me of these memories.
So it was at this point I decided I couldn’t allow myself to be lost from all memories. I didn’t want my girls to ask where I was when they look back in years to come. I wanted a reminder for them of who I was and what I looked like and how crazy we could be together.
It wasn’t easy to step from behind the lens but it was one best things I have ever done.
Don’t get me wrong I still cringe a few times when I see my double chin but I can look past that now and see the memory that was formed.
The moment that was shared.
In fact my girls laughed at me the other day for taking what they called “yet another selfie”. They speak the truth beyond this journey of memory making I have learned to love who I am. My body has birthed four amazing girls. It has carried so many children on it’s hips. It too holds it’s own memories.
It’s also the only one I have and yes while there are bits I would love to change I do finally like most of it.
Stepping in front of the camera scared me silly but I am so thankful that I did.
Life is different now, I have less regrets.
I take chances regardless of how far from my comfort zone they are and I have been rewarded with so many new and amazing memories. I’ve also met so many incredible people too just by being less afraid.
I wish I could go back and tell that gawky teen to love herself a little more.
I wish I could tell that new mom to capture those moments with her precious child.
I cannot go back but I can tell all you out there.
Don’t hide who you are.
Fill your Instagram feed.
Jump into the scenery and make those memories.
One day they will be the most precious gift you could give yourself.