June 25, 2011

License Plate, Catchy Song, Failed Slogan, Nevertheless I Appear in Photographs

GZUZFRK is a pretty clever license plate. (Jesus Freak. I spare you having to ask, if you needed to.)

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I have "Our God is an Awesome God" going through my head. I'm imagining God clapping along lightly with his fingertips and a sarcastic expression on his face as I hum it. "ORLY?," he says. I reply by humming with increased cheerful vigor "He REIGNS from heaven aBOVE!" It's CATCHY.

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"Recycle Your Memories" is not a good slogan for a consignment shop. I recoiled. RECYCLE my MEMORIES?? How about "Sell Your Sentimental Feelings For Cold Hard Cash"? Speaking of catchy!

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Things have been a little adrenalizing on the baby name blog this week: the mother's mother doesn't like the name, and makes it repeatedly clear---what would YOU do, and I mean in REAL LIFE where you're talking to your ACTUAL ACTUAL REAL-LIFE EXISTING MOTHER, not in a fantasy life where you take your glasses off dramatically and then address the court with a dignity and intelligence that causes your opposition to fall back in awe?

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I have noticed that pretty much only thin bloggers show photos of themselves---especially full-length photos where you can't just tuck knuckles under the chin and hope it helps. It's gotten to the point that, in general, I can figure out a blogger's size based on nothing else but the photos. Do they regularly show photos of themselves? Then they are thin. Is it never, or only with children blocking their bodies, and/or the knuckles under the chin? Then they are plump.

This is silly, and it gives us a severely skewed idea of what percentage of the people we know and like are thin. I would maybe like to meet some of you at a blogger conference some day without wearing a refrigerator box that hides my entire body. Here is a photo of me full-length, at an angle I feel is flattering (baby steps) to my Hip Width as well as to my Rear Awning:


My dad took this picture. In it, I'm taking a photo of Henry, and am not thinking about my picture being taken. As you can see, I am plump and I have cut my hair too short. Nevertheless, I appear in mirrors and in photographs.

56 comments:

d e v a n said...

I appear in mirrors and photographs - hahaha! SO true about pictures... I definitely shy away from posting full length pics although sometimes I do it anyway.

Marie Green said...

Now you have me both humming "Our God..." AND wondering if your photo theory is true about me...

I think I DO post photos of myself full-length (at least on fb)... the thing is, I have so few photos of myself as _I'm_ the photographer. Maybe I'll have David take some belly photos for me today (to post!) in honor of this post.

And fwiw, I'm pretty sure I'm going to The Blathering in '12. I'd go this year, I really, honestly would, if I wasn't slated to be firmly in the postpartum time. (I'd be looking for a roommate...)

Slim said...

That song will never get out of your head.

I love that picture. I almost wish I had a blog, so I could post a full-length picture of my self-sized self.

Nik-Nak said...

Every time I see you in a picture I'm thrown for a loop. People never look the way you d imagine from their writings. And yes, that is a great angle, you look pretty and relaxed.

I never pose for full length photos and not because I am "plump". Of course to some I may be considered plump but I am the "average woman size 12" and not to weight conscious. What bothers me is my awkward stance. Some people can throw their hand on their hip and tilt their head just right. I'm always the one standing there completely straight and uncomfortable looking. Therefore I NEVER so full body shots unless I'm sitting down.

vanessa steck said...

speaking as a fat lady, WORD.

StephLove said...

I just checked the folder with the 400+ photos that have appeared on my blog. Conclusion: you would have to wade back pretty far to find me at all (and the most recent shot is of me seated at a table visible from the chest up) but when I do appear it's full-length more often than not. I have not been what anyone would call thin in many moons.

Lauren said...

Not having children (and being a total coward when it comes to conflict) what I dream that I would do in the Name Situation is have a very beautiful wall hanging made for the baby's room that said, in a lovely font: "Times Grandma Has Criticized My Name", then make a hash mark on it every time she does.

Maybe that would shut her up.

Elsha said...

I just looked back through my archives to see what kind of pictures I post of myself and apparently I don't post pictures of myself often. I don't avoid them, but usually I'm the one taking the pictures. I guess I need to work on that!

Yo-yo Mama said...

"Gee Zee U Zee Fark"??

That's what I would have asked if hadn't already answered.

As to not liking baby names, my husband's family successfully turned me off the girl's name I picked out with baby #1 by referring to it like this, "Bess? As in Bessie the Cow?" Baby #2 we didn't share before the baby was born. Thank goodness, because we can tell they hate the name. That's the only advice I can give to expecting parents: Do Not Share the Baby's Name!

The only pictures I share of me are the ones I've 'shopped.

Doing My Best said...

Thank you! Thank you for being consistently brave and real! It is so encouraging!

Chris said...

I am, at the moment, bracing for the slideshow of VBS tomorrow because I know very well there will be a photograph of me laughing my gappy tooth laugh and being very plump.

If I were you, I'd be in every photograph, fighting to be in front. You are fantastic and honest and real. Nothing wrong with that.

If I could ever shake the VBS songs out of my head, I would probably now have our God is an awesome God in there.

Nowheymama said...

I love you, Swistle.

ssm said...

I hate photos of myself. (I'm working on it.) I look like a goon. But YOU? Should definitely post full length photos of yourself.

lifeofadoctorswife said...

"I appear in mirrors and photographs" - LOVE IT. And I love your theory, too.

"Our God Is an Awesome God" is now running through my head. It's a nice song to have running through one's head, though. One of the only things I miss about my churchy upbringing is the music.

If my mom squashed/quashed a name I loved, I would cry. And then be passive aggressively sad/mean for months until we had a teary fight. But I would not name my child the name she hated because she and I are SO CLOSE that I would remember how she hated the name every time I said it.

I love clever license plates. But my husband and I agreed that they can be TOO clever. If it takes more than two stoplights to decipher one, it's not a good choice. (The license plate that had us stumped was MEGORPH.)

Mrs. Irritation said...

You are so many different flavors of awesome!

Bibliomama said...

You are so right. I have posted some pictures from the waist up - full length would probably be better, because I kind of like my legs. Of course, I don't think you actually look plump, just normal-sized. If my picture was taken and I didn't know about it (and have an opportunity to suck some stuff in), I sort of shudder to think. But I guess that's kind of the point. I don't know that song, but I agree with doctorswife - I don't miss much about church, but I miss the music.

Stimey said...

You're awesomesauce for lots of reasons. Excellent point about the photos. If you didn't look closely, you'd think that there were only thin bloggers. I just did a little memory card flip through in my head and, happily, I posted a recent full-length photo of myself, so I'm representing with you too! (Although, yes, I carefully vetted it for maximum flattering angle.)

goingloopy said...

Go Swistle! I must, as a fat chick with some serious double chin going on, confess to at least the "resting chin on something, whether it be feather boa, cat, or hands" technique. Somehow, letting people see pics of my fat body doesn't seem as bad as the chin to me.

Also...now that song is stuck in my head too.

Lippy said...

Still laughing at the take your glasses off dramatically! Best line ever. I don't think I really ever post pictures of me. Who wants to see middle aged teacher lady, when you could see super cute kids? Interesting. Also I slouch and hate pictures where I am standing up, sitting is bad too. Hmm maybe lying down would be ok?

Lisa said...

True on the pictures--I rarely post pics of myself on my blog, and if I do, never from the waist down. (The bottom half is much larger than the top half.)

I read a lot of design blogs, and it seems like all of the big name (and even smaller name) design bloggers are Stunningly Beautiful. I am hard pressed to think of an ugly design blogger.

Karen L said...

As for pictures, I'm probably what many people would consider "normal*," but still I am self-conscious about pictures, notably the jaw area, upper arms and cellulite on the thighs. I am selective about the pictures I'll post on FB or on my blog, which is just a personal/family log thingy.
*I'm 5'll.5" and my weight has varied from 160 to 185 lb over my adult years, i.e., sometimes within a "healthy" BMI, sometimes above it.

What I would _really_ do about the mom/name situation:

This could have happened to me. Normally, my mom was a rather intelligent, reasonable person, but yes, sometimes opinionated. I could probably take a somewhat lawerly position. I might say to her: "Look, I know this isn't your intent but it is quite upsetting to me (and DH, if that were true) that you're harshing our squee over this name. You and I both know that it is a perfectly reasonable name - just not to your taste. And you also know that fashions change and you may be behind the times on this one. All that said, I don't want to deliberately antagonise you and quite frankly the name has been ruined for us by you. And so, we will choose another name and I have complete faith that you will be very gracious about whatever the name was and that we were unnecessarily accomodating in the face of your over-stepping your place. You will understand that, if there are more grandchildren, we will likely not consult you before the birth announcements are already printed." And I expect she'd back off, perhaps licking her wounds a little. If she then proceeded to apologise sincerely and to recant, I would be thankful and say that I might actually consider consulting her again next time.

HOWEVER, my mother was also an alcoholic and I can imagine that the criticisms would be coming while she not in her right mind, so to speak. And her opinionatedness in combination with drunkenness would often piss me right off. goes to 11 pissed off. So in that case, I might really let her have it. But still, the name would be ruined for me and I would move on to another name (there are really lots of wonderful names in the world), probably reminding her now and then over the years of how much I regret changing my mind just because of her. very mature, I know. And I would not be consulting her again regarding future names.

Deanne said...

I love your photo. And I am glad you said you were taking a picture of Henry - on my somewhat craptacular monitor it looked kind of like you were holding up a worm. HAHA!! And NO that does not negate the compliment I gave you - I think you are wonderful!

Janet S said...

Do you ever read http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/? One of the main contributors, Melissa McEwan, often writes about body image topics. As I struggle with my own weight issues, I am trying to channel her attitude. There is simply too much unreasonable body-hate in our country. Why can't we take people as they are? (I say, as I look in the mirror with a frown.)

Lynnette said...

Not that it matters, but that is a great stance for having your picture taken. Feet slightly apart, arms relaxed and attention being paid to a subject just a few feet from you. Very flattering. All pictures of me manage to have duck lips, bunny teeth, or awkward arm holding.

I have a song that I sing to the toddler. It's Bringing in the Sheaves, but with the words "Stinky Baby Feet." I like to think this is our version of religion.

Because I would not be able to keep my temper in a situation like the OP in the baby name question has, I kept the name oh-so-secret. Even if the name were only so-so for me, I would use it to spite whoever objected. And I also love your line about leaving the opposition in awe.

minnie said...

the photograph thing is horribly true i think! although the other thing is that i am always the one wielding the camera and so it's hard to take a full length photo of oneself. self timer is not an option when grabby, fast little kids are about.

i'm going to go post a full length pic of myself right now in all my plump glory!

Cayt said...

I have never posted a picture of myself on my blog. There is a tiny picture of me wearing faery wings, and that's it. I should take a picture and show you my new glasses. I like them a lot.

Also! I dreamed of you, swistle, and I forgot it until I saw that picture. In my dream you are awesome and your children are fun and interesting. I believe both of these things to be true.

If my mum was being rude about my name choice, I would probably choose something else, to be honest, unless it was a name I LOVE. Like, I have had my favourite baby boy name picked out for YEARS. She would not be able to ruin that for me. Girl names, I have five favourites, so if she hated one, I might consider changing to another.

Ginny said...

"...it gives us a severely skewed idea of what percentage of the people we know and like are thin."

So true! I also think about this in relation to celebrities. The celebrities whose appearance I'm most aware of are usually actors, who are much much more likely to be thin and sexy and all that. Other people on my mental "list of awesome people" like writers and scientists, are less likely to have their image spread around, and also more likely to be ordinary-looking. So in my head, Awesome People are more likely to be Awesomely Hot, because of a selection bias effect.

On the name thing? My mom is all about respect for boundaries and not stepping on people's toes, so the most I can imagine her doing if I chose a name she hated is saying "Oh," in a quiet little disappointed voice. And I think I'd stick with the name, because after a while "Eliot" stops being "the name my daughter chose for her baby" and starts being "my grandchild" and I would imagine that her love for the child would erase her initial dislike of the name. I've dated guys with names I disliked, only to develop a fond feeling about the name afterward, so I would hope the same effect would hold.

Now if someone were direct and rude about disliking the name (as I could imagine my potential mother-in-law* being) I'd definitely use it, because I am stubborn and ornery.

*By which I mean "the woman who could potentially become my mother-in-law" not "a hypothetical mother-in-law." Don't want to be taken as prejudiced against MILs in general; my boyfriend's mother ... well, she doesn't mince words.

Nicole said...

I think you're lovely!

vanessa steck said...

ya'll who don't miss church but do miss the music: come join the UUs! and as a bonus we have awesome Sunday school, including the greatest comprehensive sex ed ever :)

St said...

OMG I don't know if I can forgive you for sticking that song in my head. WRONG.

Kristin said...

I am thin and pretty enough (but not design blogger gorgeous, that's for sure!) but have no pictures of myself on my blog. Partly because like someone else mentioned I am always the one taking pictures, so I have very few pictures just of myself, and partly because I just feel kind of weird putting a picture up of me. Not sure why. I think i kind of like the idea of it being a space where people don't know what I look like. More annonymous I guess. But in general I think your theory holds true, although I can think of other exceptions. And you look great in that picture!

Suzanne said...

Not only do I now have that song stuck in my head, but I am DOING THE HAND MOTIONS. Oh I'm sorry, did you not learn the sign language version at your 8 years of church camp?

For the record, "awesome" is like pushing up the sky. At least in church camp sign language.

I feel very not at all thin in comparison to the gorgeous fancy popular bloggers I follow but I've made a real effort to find and take flattering (enough) pictures of myself and post them, especially when I participate in fashiony-type link-ups. Because I hate feeling like I am the lone chubby girl in a sea of fashion models. It's the INTERNET for god's sake. If I can't be chubby here, NO WHERE IS SAFE.

Caitlin said...

I can't stop reading the comments on that baby name post. APPALLED.

I LOVE that color purple and I love how cool you look standing there with your hand in your pocket.
FWIW, every time you've posted a picture, you've looked very Normal to me. I don't really know how to say this right, except that the image that you hold in your head - the one you write about here -doesn't seem to match up to what I see in the pictures. I realize I haven't seen SO many pictures of you but it got me thinking, and I think many of us are guilty of that. It's the old 'I thought I was fat when I was 22, but I saw a picture of myself from then the other day and man I'd love to look like that again!' thing. It's sort of...we aren't always very honest with ourselves about how we look. Maybe honest is the wrong word. Objective?
Well...I DID say I didn't know how to say this right.

I posted a full-length picture of myself on twitter the other day to get a opinions on a dress (as you know). I was nervous about doing it. I thought my arms looked sausagey and my mid-section looked round. Because certain of my areas ARE sausagey and round. But I really wanted some help with the dress, so I nervously posted it. And I got some unexpected compliments that reminded me that we don't always (ever?!) see ourselves the way others do.

I find it both comforting and sad to realize that many of us look much better than we think we do. We look great! We do! Our bodies are really incredibly, when it comes down to it, and we should be kinder to them. I mean hell, go look at some old paintings in a museum or art history book. For hundreds and hundreds of years, no one was asking skinny girls to take off their clothes so they could have works of art modeled after them. At least not that I know of. At times this has brought me great comfort. Our ideal is just a phase. Maybe my body isn't going to make it on any billboards (uh, not that I'd really want to, I guess), but damn if I wouldn't have made some BANGING Renaissance paintings!!


As always, I think you are just awesome.
(As awesome as Our God, even.)

leah said...

You look lovely! I am still just SICK over that name thing. I cannot BELIEVE the gall of that mother. GRRRR.

alice said...

Yay! to the picture. I've been realizing that I'm guilty of the 'super-old photo on Facebook' thing - somehow I got a picture of me eating fire from 10-ish years ago, and it's been the pic for a while. Fun image, but now that I'm in my 30s, it seems way too much of a cop-out. (I was also slightly thinner and it's a waist-up shot, too.)

Trying to get over the 'ugh' response that comes when I see photos of myself is HARD - seeing pictures of other people who aren't thin is SO helpful. Thank you! And thanks for pointing out the 'magic angle - I think that I'm going to ease myself in by working on something like that.

Type (little) a said...

I posted a picture of myself in a BATHING SUIT today on Facebook. Where my ex-boyfriends can see!! Thanks for the inspiration. :-)

Naomi said...

You know what I love about this picture? I tend to fall in the trap of thinking that extraordinary people look extraordinary. Then I look at your picture, and see a happy, pretty, completely normal looking woman. Someone who could be my neighbor. And it makes me wonder.. who around me do I not give a second glance to because they look completely normal, but are in fact completely extraordinary?

Little Bird said...

We all see things from the lens of our own perceptions and shortcomings. I look at that photo of you and think "gee, I didn't know Swistle was so tall!"

Kristin said...

"nevertheless I still appear in mirrors and photographs" *snort!*. You are hysterical!!

Saly said...

Love this post. I totally cropped my bottom half out of my current Facebook profile pic, which is ridiculous, because anyone who knows me, knows about the junk in my trunk.

Misty said...

Now I have the stupid facking song in my head. Thanks, Swistle.

And you are right. When I think about posting a full length picture of myself, I get that tight fear ball in my chest. Because I know people are judging me. I know that if they knew my pant size, they would think I was a waste of oxygen.

Ok, that migtht not be true for everyone. But I feel like it is true.

Maggie said...

Well, I don't have a blog, but if I did, I'd probably hardly ever post photos of myself because generally I'm the photographer, and also, even though I'm generally considered a thin person, I am so unphotogenic as to make my friends laugh. At first they thought I was just being modest until they got to know me and saw that the camera actively hates me. I'm a normal looking person, but every photo of me is hilariously bad. The rest of my family is much more photogenic, so they would be featured heavily, me, not unless a miracle occurred and a relatively normal photo of me happened (occurs once every 5 years or so...)

Swistle said...

Misty- YES. And I've seen people make careless remarks about OTHER people, like "She must weigh 200 pounds" or "This obese woman eating at McDonald's" or "That picture was taken when I was still a size 22---my son looks scared because he thought I was going to eat him har har" that let me know VERY CLEARLY what people think is revolting.

Margie said...

Swistle, you look fab!

Anne said...

I post horrifically embarassing pictures from unflattering angles all the time. Only one person had the nerve to ever say anything unflattering, and it was on Facebook, so I blogged about him and let everyone feel indginant and angry with me and then unfriended him. Post more pictures of you- you are beautiful!

Lawyerish said...

I ALWAYS want bloggers to post photos of themselves, because I need visuals! I want to put a face to a name and get some context for their life, yanno? So I am always pleased as punch when you post pics of yourself. You're lovely.

Remember when you did the contest asking us to guess which of many headshots was of you, before any of us knew what you looked like? I got such a kick out of that! And I wished I had done the same (what would I look like to people who didn't know what I looked like?? So interesting!). And Jonniker's comments/guesses on that post about made me fall off my chair laughing.

Melissa said...

I don't have a blog, but I have Facebook and I don't post photos of myself, mainly because photos of myself do not exist. I am so unhappy with the way I look I do not allow anyone to point a camera in my general direction.

So, knowing that about me, here is a horrible story (for me.) My son was baptized at church camp a couple weeks ago. His camp director said "Here, let me get a picture of all of you together!" Well, I couldn't very well say no, now could I?

She emailed it to us. Worst picture of me I have EVER ever seen. And I have seen some bad ones.

A week later, sitting in the church sanctuary, and we see that picture in the church bulletin. The bulletin that is printed and handed out to everyone as they walk in. My husband actually laughed out loud during the service when he saw it.

Mortified.

Your picture looks great - I need to practice that pose/angle in the mirror

J from Ireland said...

I know I hardly ever comment but I swear I just love you. You make me laugh so much. Its a pleasure to read your words.

Lauren said...

Sadly, I have chosen not to post photos when I think I look too plump. Which is silly, because I never think about it when I make choices in real life. Dessert? Sure!

Speaking of flattering poses, I realized yesterday that I had posted an unintentional cleavage shot. The width of my backside is hidden since I was bending over the kids and plus, who's looking at my rear when you can see down my shirt?

Alicia said...

I think your hair is adorable there. In fact, I think all of you looks adorable. (Is that creepy? I don't mean it like, "Look at you. The whole PACKAGE!") I would see you and say, "That woman looks just like she could be a FRIEND!"

TinaNZ said...

"not in a fantasy life where you take your glasses off dramatically and then address the court with a dignity and intelligence that causes your opposition to fall back in awe?" - that was SO recognisable that it made me laugh out loud at work. Brilliant.

In the photo you just look... normal. I am peering at it to see how much the special Swistle mix of intelligence and humanity shows in your face.

Jenny Grace said...

I like your hair.

gwen said...

You are...

a) completely correct about being able to tell bloggers' body size from the kinds of photos they post, and I vow to post a full-body photo of my (not thin) self online soon; and

b) extremely cute. I think that length of hair looks great on you.

cakeburnette said...

You know, you always talk like you are very overweight. I think you've mentioned being plus-sized. But I have to say that I don't think you are grossly overweight, and honestly, I think you must be on the very low end of the plus-sizing. I mean, you can get away with non-plus sizes, but sort of like the roominess? I know I go up a size sometimes for roominess. Anyway, you look good!

Swistle said...

Cakeburnette- Sadly/happily, no. It must be an even more flattering picture than I'd thought!

Alex said...

I absolutely adore you. For so many reasons.