It started over the weekend. Rich was looking for a movie to watch Saturday night on the Fire Stick. My attention was half focused on my laptop and the 80 something photos of fourth graders that needed to be edited. He gave up and chose something with Gwyneth Paltrow based on the ratings. "Ugh. Not a fan," I commented. The movie was blah so we quickly changed it to What's Eating Gilbert Grape because Johnny Depp. AND it's a really good movie.
The next day, as I'm hurriedly unloading my groceries at the checkout counter, I spot Gwyneth on the cover of Women's Health magazine. Have you seen it? She's wearing a red bikini and written next to her abs is the statement "Get. Her. Abs. Just 3 moves." Does anyone, especially in this day and age, actually believe that three abdominal exercises completed three times a week will actually give them abs that look like Gwyneth's? A celebrity. Who I bet has a personal trainer. Who I bet has a maid. Does anyone actually believe that Gwyneth is scrubbing her own toilets and bathtubs?
I scoffed as I threw my Cadbury Creme Eggs and chocolate fudge Pop-Tarts onto the conveyer belt.
Dear Women's Health - I gave birth to triplets at 35 weeks and 6 days. Before I started shrinking, I stood at just under 5'4" tall. I have a petite frame so carrying three babies for that length of time stretched my skin and muscles beyond my body's natural ability to "bounce back." I could do these 3 moves till the cows come home and I will never look like Gwyneth. Thank you and have a great day.
I don't know. Maybe this just set me up for a bad week or something.
Here's the thing - we spend so much of our lives in competition with others. Whether measurable or not, it's there. In high school and college, there's your class rank based upon your grades. Do high school seniors still vote for "most likely to succeed" and "best looking"? When I was working, we ranked the staff based upon their work abilities and performances. I'm sure I was ranked as well.
As required by the state of Massachusetts, the girls participated in statewide testing for the first time at the end of third grade. Several months later, the results were mailed to parents. There was a graph that marked the grade the state considered passing, the average grade of the entire third grade of our school district and your child's score. How do you compare to everyone else? It's all laid out right there in front of you.
When it comes to photography, I've always been the first one to tell you not to compare yourself to others. Find your own style. Don't follow trends. Stop caring what others are doing! But I found myself doing just that this week. Maybe it's a combination of the time of year and everything going on right now - sick kid, tax returns, yearbook photos - but my photography has felt flat. This isn't the first time I've felt this way but now that I'm not working outside the home, I sort of feel like my presence online is work. I was scrolling through IG on Monday morning and I suddenly felt so insecure. I'm too old. My kids are too old. While technically correct, my photos of my kids have never been and will never be called magical or whimsical. I'll never be named one of the "fill in blank" photographers of the day, month, year. Really, there was just a lot of self-induced negativity going on. I try not to take things to heart but man, there are some cliques on social media. Don't get me wrong, I've meet some super nice people - including some who live locally. On the other hand though, I tried to connect with some others who live here and I was basically invisible. Okay.
I apologize for my negativity. I know some don't like reading it as it pulls them down. I try to stay positive but I've always said I would stay true to myself and this has been a low week. I can't imagine I'm the only one who has days like these which is why I'm sharing. Okay, I'm going to end this so I can work on a tax return. I don't have a desk so it's all spread out across the kitchen counter and I'd really like to clean that all up. Thanks for listening. And tomorrow is a new day!