I have a history of recycling Facebook profile pictures. When I get tired of one photo, more often than not I will just jump back to an older one. I am sure I am not alone in hating the way I look in most of my pictures. I am not talking about photos where my face is twisted in a strange direction, eyes closed, and a seagull perched and pooping on my head. I am talking about well posed photos where I nitpick over a small little detail, which nobody but me would notice, but seriously, who cares if they do notice. I don’t tend to take photos of just myself, rather it is a picture of me doing something/being somewhere.
Here is a photo of me inside the Al Zubarah Fort in Qatar. It is a 90 minute(?) drive from Doha. This is me standing inside the only UNESCO World Heritage site in the country. There wasn’t another soul there besides the 2 security guards when we arrived. Run of the place was ours.
When I first looked at this photo, I dismissed it as a terrible photo of myself for the following reasons:
1. My eyes are super squinted
2. I hate the look of my teeth. I don’t have good teeth. My left front tooth is ground down (I guess I used to do this when I sleep. I don’t think I do anymore), and crooked because of my wisdom teeth. The teeth are the main reason. I only really like my teeth showing when I am distant in the picture.
Here is why I shouldn’t hate this picture:
1. It is a picture of me during a day trip to Qatar during my time in Dubai. This alone is pretty awesome.
2. My smile is real. I was having a great day. I rented a car with my mother in Doha, we drove ourselves out of the city to this old fort, and had the place to ourselves. It was awesome, and I was happy about things.
3. I am squinting because I was looking at the sun (contrary to the instincts of every creature on the planet) in order to get a better shot of the background.
Phoenix Mountain: just outside of Beijing
The main reason I hated this photo when I first looked at it:
I am drenched in sweat from head to toe. My shirts are soaking wet. My shorts are 100% sweat wet. My socks are waterlogged, and my shoes will need to be dried as well. I look at this picture and think, “I sweat too much.”
The reason I shouldn’t hate it:
1. When this photo was taken, I had hiked 6 or 7 km to this point. While it was never climbing (except for the rock face staircase for a few minutes), it was up a mountain. I am drenched in sweat because I do what I want. I might not be in shape, but it never stops me from doing something. If I want to climb a mountain, I do. If I want to whitewater raft, I do. If I want to do a climbing wall, zipline, or anything else, I do it. I have never backed down from something I wanted to do because of my shape/weight.
2. Grace and I just found a geocache after 30 minutes of looking for it. It was her first geocache, and it was fun to see how excited she got when we found it.
3. I am in China, climbing a mountain.
4. I am happy. I remember the moment this photo was taken, I had been laughing at something Grace said, and then a few moments later she snapped the picture. This is a picture of me legit happy.
I have decided it is time to change how I view pics of myself.
1. If I saw someone else in the same picture, would I nitpick over the same details?
2. If I were to nitpick over the same details would it be because I am being a jerk?
3. What are the circumstances surrounding the picture? Like with the picture of me drenched in sweat, why am I soaked? Is it because I am doing something (like mountain hiking) where this is ok, or am I stationary in Starbucks and sweating because of being extremely out of shape?
4. What are the good/great/awesome aspects of the picture?