20 July 2010

Getting Over Myself

A wise person once said, "People who are wrapped up in themselves, make for very small packages..."

In the past, for far too many years, I was way too wrapped up in myself. Too self-conscious and paranoid about the way I look (my size, my shape, my cellulite, my baby-tummy) to go swimming. Or get on a bike (how wide is that butt???)

I hid behind the camera, I sat by the pool with my book, I documented and observed and recorded all the fun. But I wasn't part of it.

Too self-conscious, I was in hardly any photographs. You never saw me in the family videos. I managed to avoid it by being Photo-Girl Extraordinaire.

Then one day just over a year ago a light switched on. What if something happened to me? What if I contracted a rare fatal illness or got knocked over by a bus while crossing the street...? What would my kids have to remember me by?

They wouldn't have photos of me to gaze at and weep over (sound of violins)... flickering images of me jumping with them in the waves would not be replayed again and again to remind them of all the fun times we had... no such images existed.

They would watch the family movies and ask... where was mummy?? They would look at the photos and think I wasn't even there. They wouldn't realise I had been behind the camera.

And fun memories? Crazy adventures together? Hardly. They would remember me reading and watching on the sidelines (if I was lucky). How would they know how much I loved them??

Horrors. I had better start getting over myself.

So I started handing over the camera more often. I started taking self-portraits of myself or me and the kids squished up together. I got on a bike once or twice. I survived the shock and no small animals were knocked sideways as my butt rode past.

I went swimming occasionally. I jumped in some waves on family holidays. I have been trying really hard to get over myself. The result? I am in lots more photos. And I kinda like it! The great thing about digital photos is you can delete the ugly ones before anyone sees. Or turn them black and white to hide your blotchy complexion. Or crop out the flabby arms. But at least there's a record. Of me, the mummy, with my kids, having fun.

This holiday I pulled out all the stops.

I packed my togs. And I put them on and went swimming on the first day (start as you mean to go on, I say). It was wonderful! What can beat having your toddler's little body wrapped around you in the water, clinging on and plastering you with wet salty (snotty) kisses?

Is there any better fun than your big boy and his new pal playing water tag with you? And thinking you are way fun and cool??

Is there anything sweeter than teaching your daughter to swim and floating on backs side by side gazing up at the sky??

How about the magic of breathing in salty air and gum leaves as you bike with your family along the seafront? Watching your son and daughter race ahead confidently on two wheels?

Would you want to miss being there the second after your little girl falls off her bike and scrapes her knee... being there to wipe her tears as you try to figure out how you'll get her and her bike back to the hotel...

...then hearing her say bravely through her tears, "No I can do it. I want to try again..." The pride of watching her get up, brush herself off and carry on. Your heart nearly bursts I tell ya.

A funny thought struck me. If had been back at the apartment with a book and missed the whole thing while daddy went riding, do you think I'd remember which book I read in a month's time? Or a year? I doubt it. But I will never forget those moments. And neither will my kids.

Me and my girl rode sick-making rollercoasters together. We drove dodgems together and screamed with laughter as we chased and bumped daddy and Dash. We got soaked together on every log ride possible, and I took her to get her hair braided - a big girls treat.

I even went to Wet'N'Wild and spent the whole day in my swimmers. Yes. I did. But I was clever, I went and bought a nice long-sleeved, high-necked black rash top, so I felt comfy walking around. There is video footage of me jumping waves in the wave pool with Scrag, in my swimmers, and I have to say I don't look as bad as I thought I would!

But how I look is not what matters. The fact that I am the heaviest I have ever been (barring pregnancy) and yet I'm parading around in swimmers... who cares?? Who's looking? Which strangers on their holidays are going to go home telling the funny story about the lady with the dimpled thighs who had the audacity to display them??? Nobody. Nobody cares. Nobody is looking. They're all too busy with their own lives, their own issues.

And if they happen to glance over and see me in my swimmers, do I really care if they think, "Gee she doesn't look much like a supermodel!!"???

No. I don't. Because finally, finally I think I can say with 87.3% certainty that I am almost 95% Over Myself. And it feels goooooood!

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Sammy said...

Yay Simoney! What a great perspective, because the rest of us think (and have have) that you are GORGEOUS!

Unknown said...

Good for you! You deserve to be happy with yourself!

Catching the Magic said...

Yah! You look so positive, radiant and glowing in all these photographs and what an amazing holiday of precious family time you all had.

I all too often forget to include myself in photos and have thought the same thing as you in the past, 'What if something happened to me?!'

We've sat and watched video clips of the children when they were babies and they've asked, 'Where are you Mummy?' - cripes! Even when I tell them I was filming, they don't really 'get' it - they want to 'SEE' me.

Now my older children are able to handle a camera I am letting them 'rip' with it a lot more and it's fun to see the pictures they take. I don't always like the way I look in them - but I know they don't see the 'faults' that I do and they love me whatever.

I love the way you are sharing your holiday memories with such positive reflections.

All the best, Sarah x

Melissa@Vidastyle said...

Good on you, you look gorgeous in those pics with your family! PS I am a new follower of your blog and love your posts!

Gail said...

Fab post Simoney - very true! You look very happy and beautiful and relaxed in all these pics. Some great memories made - with you in them!

Weza said...

I have got to say Simone I really think you are gorgeous. You have the most incredible face structure! These pics are beautiful. This post a fab reminder to us that it is better to be having fun with our kids than to stand back because of social constructs. Plus we teach our children so much about self image when we can truly be happy to be ourselves and have adventures, despite our curves. Love this post!

Anonymous said...

Nice to hear that you accept yourself the way you are now...it's just great, and it looks like you had a lot of fun with your family over in Australia. And you do look GREAT!!!

I think life would be easier for me too if I could stop worrying about how I look....but mostly it's ED talking I think. But I'm working on it^^


Brigitte said...

Oh that is BRILLIANT!! What a great post Simoney!
Good on you for not letting anything hold you back from joining in on the fun times with your kids. And such great times it sounds like you had as well - YAY!! X

Anonymous said...

yup love it love it love it....as always
so true Simoney
I was right there with you a couple years ago
the thing is kids don't care what you look like
they just care that you are there!
love and light and good for you!

Kathy Monk said...

Great post Simoney x

Fiona said...

You look 'sexy az' in the photo you took of yourself in the mirror!!!! You know even when you're slim there are still the whispers in your head about flabby thighs, jelly butt, cellulite, ... and I could go on (and on)so the one conclusion I draw is that no matter what shape we are, we are never happy or contented! What a shame. What a waste of worry. As you so wizely say - everyone else is actually not looking at us anyway - they're preoccupied with themselves too!!!!!!!!!! hehehehe

Anonymous said...

Brilliant post Simone, I have lived much of my life in fear and not joined in but am trying, trying now to go for it a bit more. Thanks for the encouragement xx

Dalia - Gen X Mom said...

So SO true! I am right there. All our family vacation pictures are minus mom. Where is she? Behind the camera. Hiding. I once thought the same thing after I attended a wake of a young woman with two kids. The family had put tons of pictures of her and her kids all over the funeral home. So nice but made me think as you did. What if? There would be no pictures of me with my kids. Such an awful sad thought. It did make me a little better about pictures but still not good enough. Your post hopefully has once woken me up to this fact again. Time to get the camera out!

Tylaine said...

Great Post! I know I need to work on that too.
Beautiul pictures! You know your kids don't see a big butt or flabby arms or belly they just see a beautiful women they love and adore. Come to think of it I don't see that either, just a beautiful woman. Many times WE are the only ones that see our flaws. :)
We may regret many things but we will NEVER regret spending time with our children. :)

Sharon Cohen said...

Self assurance is the greatest gift we give ourselves.
You've conquered a demon that torments many women - including me as I age. About every decade I have a photograph taken that shows me the worst of how I look to the outside world and it sickens me. So I'm back to the drawing board taking all the steps to accept my appearance - again. I started this when I was in therapy as a teenager! I'm back to the exercises (mental, that is). Your post helps.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I needed to read that. I've been struggling with the EXACT same issues lately. Thanks for sharing!

Meeks said...

I am sooo with you on this one!
I too have thought that is a "gift" to be able to leave your children with photos of you with them.
Whenever I think..."ughhh I look hideous in that photo, I mean, look at my hair" I have to remind myself, my kids gets to see my fluffy out of control hair every day...that is me to them! (just because I may have a different picture of myself in my head...and she is 10 years younger! whoops!)

Shell said...

Your last line cracked me up! I've learned that my boys don't care what I look like, but they certainly care if they can't go swimming b/c mama doesn't feel like putting a bathing suit on!

Leslie said...

This is my first visit here and I am thinking.. wow, she just described me!!! Great post!!
Nice to meet you.

Holly Lefevre said...

I really LOVE this post. Back in October, I wrote something with the same sort of theme - a friend and I were at the beach and her daughter and my son kept asking for us to come swimming. She refused...I had an epiphany - what am I going to remember more frolicking in the water with my son or sitting on the beach. am not completely over myself, but working on it!

Gemma said...

Aww, I love this post, I'm quite young but I'm so camera shy, just because of this post I vow to be in more family pictures :)

Shrine Readers said...

Wonderful! I KNOW a lot of moms struggle with the same thing, me included. I got my butt in a suit and on a tube and floated down a creek with my kids last week and it was FUN! They didnt care that my stuff was jiggly. They just wanted to have fun with their mom. Good for you and thank you for the encouragement! :)

PaisleyJade said...

Awesome post Simone! Such good thoughts - and beautiful pics.

Mandy said...

Lovely post, Simoney, and a lovely lady too! I'm afraid that's exactly how too many of us mommies feel! I know I'm guilty of staying out of the pictures! Thanks for the inspiration to just get over it and get into it! Visiting you from Blog Connect. So glad to have you in our community of blogging buddies!

Karen & Gerard said...

How wonderful that you came to this realization before it was too late. That is exactly how my mom felt and why I don't have many pictures of her. Love that you thought of your kids above your insecurities.

Anonymous said...

Definitely food for thought ... thanks Simone, I'll endevour to hand over the camera a little more often too!

Amanda Lee said...

This is such a great post! I wish I would have gotten over myself when my kids were young -- I missed too much, and even if I was there, I'm not in the picture!

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