The other week, my sweet friend Mark messaged me on Facebook to say that he loves how I smile in pictures. “You do it well. … It seems genuine and it looks good on you and it’s pleasant,” he commented. My heart warmed.
I can always tell who took a photo of me because of the way I smile in them. My favourite photos of myself are the ones taken by my favourite people, and I love knowing that other people can see that, too.
Awhile ago I posted this (above) photo on Facebook, taken by my ex J on the shores of Lake Superior last year. It was one of my favourite photos of me taken in a while. My lovely friend Tori mentioned how the photographer did a great job of capturing my inner and outer beauty, letting it shine through. “There’s a magic to photos that shows who is taking them, or who you’re with in the photos,” I commented back to her. “I always see the photos that this friend takes and hope that that’s how people really see me…that that’s how I really look to the world.”
J always brought out the best in me. He made me fierce and loving and full-of-heart. He made me soft and sweet. In the photos that he took of me, there was always an extra softness in my lips and my eyes. Warm and alive, you could feel my comfort and love pouring out from my face. It’s not just J who did this to me. My friend Tyler, who checked in on me last week, brings about a softness in my portraits, too. He’s a photographer and has snapped my pic countless times. You can see how full my heart is. You can see my adoration for life with that person seeping out of my eyes.
As much as we work to control how we are perceived to the world around us, there’s something to how I look when I look at my friends that I just don’t know how to capture otherwise. There’s nothing I can do with my hair or makeup or my clothing that can capture the look of love and appreciation and joy and comfort that is captured when I’m with the people who bring out the best in me.
I surround myself with the people who bring out the best in me. The people who I am instantly relaxed around. The people who turn me soft and gentle. The people who I look at with love and care pouring from my heart and my eyes. The people who turn me sweet and fierce. The people who make my laughter joyous and free. The people who make me curious and excited about life, and at the same time comforted with security and assurance.
I hope that the world can see me this way. I hope the world can see me alive, joyful, free, fierce, and sweet. I am so lucky to have people who bring this out in me and let me shine it out into the world.