So, last week was the Fabulous Conference and my first book signing event. If I looked up the phrase “dream-come-true” on Google, that search would have shown the image of me sitting atop a bistro chair at the Seagate Centre in downtown Toledo with a line of women waiting for me to sign their copy of my book. Seriously, how did a little brown-skinned girl with big pop-bottle glasses and two giant front teeth grow up and find herself in such an amazing situation?
Y’all, I’m still pinching myself.
Book signing was just a thrill. A straight-up thrill! I perched myself on that chair during breaks and lunch and met so many women. (That chair thrilled me because it gave my feet a break from the pressure of my fabulous 4″ heels.)
I loved looking into the eyes of each woman who stepped up with my book. I wished that I could have talked to everyone longer, but I had to keep it moving. So, I scribbled brief, heart-felt messages onto the page and tried to engage in conversation. By the way, it’s really hard to write and talk at the same time!
When I handed the book back, there were many precious moments when I heard: “Barb, do you mind taking a photo?”
My heart smiled and I replied: “Not at all! I’d love to take a photo!”
I posed for countless photos, sucking in my stomach, shifting my body toward my “good” side and giving the biggest, hearty grin that I knew how to give. I cherished each and every one of the moments.
Then, I started seeing photos crop up on social media, I began to grit my teeth. Those teeth. My teeth.
If you’ve read through the “Flaw Finding” chapter of my book, you know that I have a difficult relationship with my teeth. Once upon a time, my nickname was “Buckteeth.” Sometimes, that nickname whispers in my ear when I see photos of my smile. When that happens, I’ve got to act quick! Instead of letting that insecurity take hold, I must focus on the goodness, blessing and purpose* that my teeth bring to my life. This is how I do it:
My teeth’s GOODNESS: Well, they let me chomp-chomp on Chipotle. Yum! And, I’d look waaayyy different if I didn’t have teeth. Teeth are good.
How about the PURPOSE of my teeth? For starters, my teeth keep my tongue inside my mouth. (A friend of mine had a dog, who was missing it’s front teeth. So, the dog’s tongue always flopped out the side of its mouth. It was the cutest thing…but it’s not quite the right look for me.) I also appreciate how my teeth allow my speech to be crisp and clear, an important skill for a communicator.
Finally the BLESSING: My teeth add to my hearts’ desire to connect with others because my teeth make my smile seem bigger. People often comment on my smile. (And no one has ever commented on my teeth.)
Believe it or not, I have to do a lot of self-coaching whenever I see photos of me and my big smile on social media. Using the framework of remembering the goodness, purpose and blessing of my teeth helps me to reign in the attempted run-away feelings of inadequacy that only leads to bad places.
Then, I also work to remember this: Those photos aren’t about my teeth. Just the same as you may have to remember that your photos aren’t about your hips, your hair or your wrinkles.
Those photos are all about what it meant to be present in that moment. In each of those pictures, I want to remember those precious moments and I want to create more of those precious moments, so PLEASE KEEP ASKING ME TO TAKE A PICTURE WITH YOU!
I thought that I’d share a little piece of what’s going on in my heart and mind today. Especially, since I know that many women are sifting through their Fabulous Conference pictures and looking at themselves with the same critical eye that I had to fight off earlier.
Here’s today’s thought: When looking at pictures, FOCUS on the precious moment, not the physical feature.
Q4U: Whenever you see yourself in a photo, what’s the first physical feature that you lock in on? Do you ever delete or untag yourself from photos on social media?
I’d love to hear your comments! Please share them below. If you think that this post may be a blessing to others, feel free to share it! Thanks for stopping by,
*from Chapter 7 “See God First” in Enough Already: Winning Your Ugly Struggle with Beauty by Barbara L. Roose