Friday, June 10, 2011

Day 249: Behind the Smile.

I had to look up the word ‘photogenic’.
Not because I don’t have an idea what it means but because I’m befuddled by the usage.
Free Online Dictionary says: having features, colouring, and a general facial appearance that look attractive in photographs. Hmmm.
In the last 15 years or so I have often been told that I am extremely photogenic.
This wasn’t always the case.
Back in high school, I was the girl with the metal braces, combination skin, and poodle perm.
The boys weren’t looking, and not too many cameras were pointed my way.
Nor was I comfortable around either.
Having had terribly crooked teeth most of my childhood, I was someone who covered my mouth when I smiled.
My parents provided a great service to ease my embarrassment by spending a small fortune on straightening my teeth.
Braces weren’t any less painful to hide, but were a gentle reminder that better smiles were on their way.
I remember the day the orthodontist removed them.
It was as though he had given me a Get Out Of Jail Free card.
You couldn’t keep me from smiling if you tried.
It was the ticket to confidence that I needed.
And the next thing I knew I was in every talent show singing, every theater production acting and hosting every fashion show at my high school - in short, lots of yearbook photo ops.
And then I ironically happened to date three great photographers. One amateur and two professional.
Who made me their muse.
There are way more photos of me out there then I could ever have imagined back in the 7th grade.
And when I post photos some people say, "You are so photogenic!".
I don't know how to react to that.
I look at the definition above and can’t help but zoom in on those last two words: “in photographs.”
I need clarification.
Does “Wow, you look so great in photos, you are very photogenic!” really mean: “Wow, isn’t it strange how you look so great in your pictures, seeing as in real life you look nothing like that?!”
I wonder.
It's a very odd expression to say to someone or to hear being said about you.
I guess it’s because even though I smile as often as I do, with great zeal, somewhere underneath is the girl with the bad perm, combination skin, and crooked teeth who still has a very hard time accepting a compliment


  1. Isn't it odd how our childhood insecurities still come out to haunt us now and then? I grew up living in the shadow of a beautiful older sister, and much as I adored her, I always felt the ugly duckling! I so wish I had had MY teeth fixed before the age of 25.. what a difference it made to my self esteem. My eldest wore braces, he has a dazzling smile now (cue wide grin).

  2. Shrinky, you're not anonymous anymore!! ;-) I'm a big advocate of braces if they are within financial means. And these days, technology has advanced so much you can barely see them and the time frame to wear them is much shorter. I had them for almost 4 years!! YOU have a dazzling smile, my friend. Hello to you in lovely Scotland. Have to make my way out to Great Britain, and see what you wrote about so beautifully in that post of Aberdeen. And then you can take me antique hunting. hehe

  3. Gorsh, you sound like me when I was in high school - apart from the perm, I had to wear a hijab! Braces did however work wonders!

    If you're visiting Scotland anytime soon, there's a train service from Aberdeen to Glasgow ;)

    A xxx