I was blessed to spend the last week of January at Disney World with my husband and daughter, and I couldn't have asked for a more magical vacation. But during the week, I caught myself doing something I haven't done in a while: judging myself in pictures.
After all, it's Disney World. Pictures are being snapped left and right, and with the Disney official photographers everywhere, ready to snap at every possible opportunity, why not take advantage?
Almost two years ago, I wrote about spending the day with my best friends, and listening to at least one of us complain after every picture. You know what I'm talking about, because (a) if you're a woman, you probably do this yourself, and (b) if you're a man, this habit more than likely annoys you.
Thanks to the digital camera, we can instantly view ourselves, and then make the self-degrading remark about fat thighs, big bellies, saggy breasts and double chins. And then comes the phrase heard 'round the world: "I look terrible in that picture".
Why do women do this? You will almost never hear a man say, "Look how jiggly my arms look in that shirt."
I spent five days with my husband and daughter in one of the happiest places on earth. And as I said, cliche as it sounds, it was magical. We had 70 degree weather and no wait times. We shot through Space Mountain, escaped a Yeti in Animal Kingdom, went on a mission to Mars in Epcot and joined the Rebel Alliance in Hollywood Studios.
We didn't drive 10 hours south for a glamor shot session, and we certainly didn't spend hours getting ready each morning. We went to make memories, and along with that, to capture them.
For the past few years I've been hyper-aware of the impression I'm making on my daughter. Right now she loves being in front of the camera-the girl can pose, y'all. I want to hold off the day, for as long as possible, when she looks at herself and thinks, "Yuck".
So it was that thought, along with a self-check of my own self-esteem, that brought me back into focus while I looked through the pictures-all 300 of them. And instead of focusing on whether or not I'd sucked in my gut, I looked to see if my level of happiness-which was off the charts-was reflected back at the camera.
And, of course, it was.
We are always reading and hearing about body image and self-esteem, so much that it's become white noise. But it's never too late to start sppreciating ourselves, especially in the meaningful moments we are lucky to capture.
I feel blessed that my husband and I were able to spend such a magical time with our daughter, and extremely thankful for those Disney official photographers around every corner.