Monday, October 25, 2010

Self Portrait: 34

This is what 34 looks like:
Well, actually it was taken yesterday so this is what 33 and 364 days looks like, but who's counting?

Before writing yesterday's blog post, I was playing around with the camera to see if I could get a decent picture of myself modeling the scarf I had made, which is what I was doing in this photo. I had meant only to get the scarf in the shot, not my face at all. Huge photography fail obviously but on the upside, I managed to take a totally candid picture of myself.

When I was looking back through the shots, the me-ness of this one freaked me out a bit. I'm sure Jay would back me up in saying that this is how I look all the time: serious and not smiling. Yet when I know someone is taking my picture, I smile. Because that's what people do, right?

It's not that I'm an unhappy person, but I'm certainly not jolly. I've never been described as a girl with an 'easy laugh' and I've never been told I have a 'nice smile.' Quite the contrary actually. More than once I've had strangers come up to me and tell me to 'cheer up.' Photographers tell me to 'smile more' and that I 'need to learn to relax.' It really puts people on edge when you aren't obviously happy or naturally effusive.

That's just how I am. I've never jumped for joy, I've never squealed with excitement, and if the football team were relying on me to cheer them to victory, then they'd probably lose. Even when in computer land, I never LOL or ROFL. And you can bet your life I have never typed out the word Squee!, until now of course.

Anyway, the point of all this is that today I'm 34. The passage of time has brought many physical changes that I don't like. There is far too much sag and bag to my ass. It wouldn't hurt me to do a few more sit ups. Some days I look down at my hands and they look like the hands of an old woman. Every day I find one more grey hair, occasionally in places other than my head. There's no cream yet to be invented that will rid me of my forehead wrinkles and covering my purple eye bags has become a part of my morning routine. But there is one thing I don't have to think about: laugh lines. Score one for the sullen gal.

In spite of it all though, I'm happy. And the picture at the top? That's me. Being happy.

But the next person to give me the unsolicited advice to "Smile" is going to get stabbed in the face.


Sarah Parsons said...

Why should you HAVE to smile? I think a smile should come naturally, and I know you have had the occasion to smile because you want to. Don't let those photogs tell you what kind of face you're supposed to go around with. Also, your 34 isn't too shabby. MY 34 is falling apart. It's not pretty. And it needs to do a lot more than a few more sit ups.

Jessie (Yes I have ANOTHER BLOG) :-) said...

I absolutely, completely and entirely ADORE this post. I love the honest words you used, the style you flowed with, and the candid photo you didn't mean to take. I am squee-ing in a non-squee way. We should make up a word for the collective sullen girl crowd that appropriately expresses our non squee factor.

I'm not going to wish you a happy birthday. Instead, I am going to wish you more mindful acceptances of gray hairs, sagging, and the wisdom that comes with each spin of the earth.

Ra! Ra! Ra! for the Sullen Girl Collective! OMG we should start a collective BLOG!

...shit, now I'm manic. Ack.

Anyways, rock on, T. This post rocked my world perfectly.

Daphne said...

Well, I will say Happy Birthday and there is a little something being finished up for you over here (late, of course), but I love this photo and I love this post. I generally prefer sullen photos, myself. So, good one! :) and I like the scarf on you. Hope you enjoy yourself today in some way that is particular to just yourself.

Tammie said...

sarah: you totally just made me smile. Thank you!

jessie: i love you when you're manic.

daphne: well thank you in advance. and im actually working on a housewarming gift for you. (late of course) expect it around christmas time.

Aleta said...

Actually, I thought it was a lovely picture. There's a softness to your expression that is charming and for me, I see that slight lift in the corner of your lips. You don't need to have a wide grin to show happiness. Sometimes the softness is far prettier!

The WoodLand School said...

Happy birthday! Today is also my birthday (hooray for us!) *and* I have a husband named Jay :-)

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

Happy Birthday Tammie.

You crack me up woman.
I love this entry. It's pure Tammie and "sullen" or not your photo is beautiful.

I hope you have a wonderful day.

I hope you can accept the gray hairs etc as Jessie said. I am having a difficult time with it all as you know. The wisdom is great, the not giving a shit even better, but the mirror or the camera lens is no longer my friend.

Enjoy your day!

kraftykash said...

Happy Birthday. I think you look great in that picture. The scarf turned out nice! Im impressed. Kiley has started a photography business and his goal is to have natural shots. Your personality would be perfect!

hester said...

That's a great photo. I love that you didn't realise your face was in it. You look thoughtful, serene and totally absorbed in what you are doing in that moment. What better way is there to be?

Hope you have a lovely day and enjoy being 34. Thirtysomething is a great age to be.

Dani said...

SQUEE!!!!! It's your birthday!!!!

Ha. Love this. I think you look great, my dear.

Don't fret. I'm falling apart right along with you.

Haleine said...

Happy Birthday. I love the picture.

I too turned 34 this year. Wasn't brave enough to take a picture though.

~ The Jolly Bee ~ said...

Happy birthday to you -- you're still a youngster! My birthday is on Saturday (45! -- ye gads). I'm not smiling right now either.

victoria said...

Happy Birthday! :-) i dont do the rotflmao either. I do a lot of smileys though. and LOL. an occasional O-M-G.

I'm a former cheerleader. As I get older, I don't have the energy to be bubbly anymore. or the desire. I left a message for my chiropractor yesterday and it exhausted me. too much bubbly in a two minute message. It's actually something I need to work on - just being me and not so freaking friendly. because it's probably why I avoid people... no energy to make sure people like me.

Im beginning to admire people like you ... seriously. I'd love to take it down a few notches and feel comfortable with myself!

Love the photo!

Lia said...

Well, I am 363 days older than you. And I'm 99% certain that you are aging better than I am. I laugh, smile, and frown all the time and I have loads of wrinkles to prove it.

Your portrait is perfect. And your little mouth dimples are quite adorable and I am thoroughly envious.

michelle said...

Happy Birthday Tammie! I love the photograph - it is honest and honesty is beautiful...

Becky..AMHW said...

You don't look UNhappy. Satisfied is more like it. Content.

Happy Birthday.

Dawn said...

Thank you: I just learned what squee is.
i.e. BTR is on again....SQUEEE!!!!!

Maria Rose said...

I LOVE that photo!

AKM said...

Happy belated birthday, from one sullen gal to another. And the photo is lovely...soft and serene, as others pointed out.

Layrayski said...

Tammie, I love this "candid" photo. I am what I am at the moment I guess. Sometimes I'm full of good cheer, sometimes all I am doing is laugh and smile, sometimes my mother keeps on telling me to stop being so sullen/angry all the time. I love this post. You are right about the photographer always asking you to smile. The natural smile is most of the time best.

I'm glad that even though I am away most of the time from my blog reading I still find you and most of my blogging friends active.