on having my photo taken

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I have a tremendous fear of standing in front of a camera. It's the last holdover of a time in my life in which the very notion of what-I-looked-like seemed so big and so beyond my control that I avoided cameras and mirrors and barely got out of bed in the morning. Now the fear has changed. It's not nearly so big. It's just that small pinch I get when I look at a photograph and think well-that's-not-right-I-can't-possibly-look-like-that. It's so curious to me that we are the only people who never really know what we look like. We only ever see our image in reverse--reflected back to us. How fascinating and totally odd.

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On the Saturday that I was mean to be in Paris, but was not (which on a tangential note, while reading The Fault in Our Stars this second go round there's a line where a character says, "It took me a sleeve of Girl Scout Thin Mints and forty minutes to get over that boy" which is so deliciously good and so exactly how I feel about the man behind my ill-fated-adventure) a friend from college called me up and said Let me take your photo--I'll come to Brooklyn and I said yes because you get over your fears by facing them.

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Lydia was a dancer who followed her love to New Zealand where she first picked up a camera. It was so fun to meet after not having seen each other in a few years--after both having trudged through our own muck and come out the other side, better than we were before.

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I look at the images and I see my gummy smile and too-small-teeth. I see my forehead wrinkles and the way my eyes sometimes disappear and the strange line separating my under-eye-bags from my nose. I see all the things that I very often don't like...but all together they aren't so bad, you know? All together I can look now and think, Well, there's a girl who made it through--who is imperfect, but happy and full of experiences and stories and memories that belong just to her.

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I'm always going to want the pictures that convey movement and history and language--images that embrace imperfections and flaws and the marrow of a life well-lived,  even, and especially, if that means they're a little messy.

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