Right Where I Belong / by Rebecca Tillett

Low self-esteem and I are old pals. We go way back to my early teenage years. Before that, I firmly believe I was a cute little girl. Something either changed in my mind or in my physical appearance a mere few years later, I'm still unsure which. As I got a little older, I stopped minding the reflection in the mirror so much, even being satisfied with it some days. But each time I saw myself in a photo someone else unwittingly snapped, I would again be thrown into the depths of (superficial) despair. "Do I really look like that?? Why isn't that what I see in the mirror?? How can people stand to look at me!" etc. etc. over and over in my mind. This still occurs to this day. I've become so afraid and guarded that I rarely allow anyone else to take pictures of me. When I get in front of my own camera, I'm fully aware of what angles and views are off limits. I also always make stupid faces because, for some reason, I can look at those without wanting to gag. I'm under the assumption that I'm less ugly when I make stupid faces. Whether this is true or not, I'm unsure. I'm also still unsure if I'm delusional when I look in the mirror and sometimes like what I see or if I'm just completely and unfortunately totally unphotogenic. I'd of course hope for the latter over the former. Either way, as most women do, there are a million things I wish I could change about myself but can't...especially as I get older.

The picture above is a self-portrait shot yesterday in my backyard. It was one of about 15 or so. This was the only one I deemed acceptable. The rest will be garbage. This is a rare photo of me at a straight-on angle NOT making a stupid face, not even smiling. I think I look old and tired but I can look at it and not look away and that's a good thing.

I suppose I'm extremely lucky to have such beautiful women in my life to photograph. That way I can continue what I do best: staying behind the camera, right where I belong.