by ck on August 28, 2012

I stared at the photo for a few minutes. It was actually a decent one of me (as far as solo, semi-posed photos go), but something about it was off. I zoomed in, trying to figure it out. My hair looked okay. My skin looked good. My eyes…and that was when it hit me. There were no bags under my eyes, only smooth city. I’d been photoshopped. Don’t get me wrong. I looked better. In fact, I looked the way I wished I looked. But still…

There are a few things about myself I’ve accepted over the years, one being my facial remains. For the most part, I leave them be. I sunblock. I drink water. I use good make-up. I sleep (when applicable). I do my best and try not to obsess, because really, there’s nothing I can do. My face is my face. But every once and a while I get sucked into iPhoto, you know, just to kill some time that I don’t have. Usually it’s justifiable. A good photo that needs a little tweaking. Usually for lighting purposes. Like the one below that one of my husband’s co-workers took.

I really liked it. But it was kind of orang-y. And since my kids were otherwise occupied and I had a few minutes, I thought I’d just desaturate it a bit. After all, we don’t have many good photos together.

Innocent enough.

After doing that, however, I noticed the horrific glare off of that vein on my forehead. Seriously, how unfortunate is that? I’m not even angry at my kids in this photo, I’m without them. I’M HAPPY. And yet there’s the vein, splitting my face into two perfectly, shiny hemispheres. One for each child, and probably some leftover for their Barbies. What’s a girl to do? I’ll tell you what she’s to do, she’s going to grab the retouching tool and REMOVE it. (She’s also taking out The Wicked Zit of the East, while she’s at it.)

Unfortunately, now that the vein was gone, I couldn’t look at my face without tripping over the sleeping bags under my eyes. Are they always that untidy? Yes. Are they ever nice to look at? No. But fixable. (And also? Justifiable. If I didn’t give birth and get up several times on any given night and then wake up super early in the morning to do it all over again my eyes would NOT look like that.)

But now that the bags were gone, random creases in my face took over. And not only that, but the more I tried to smooth them out, the stranger I started to look because the photo tool I was using caused some weird blurs that I couldn’t fix. Let’s just say that by the time I was done “adjusting” my face, all I could see was how large and shiny my nose was. Who knew? All this time my face had been aging itself so that my nose would no longer be the focal point. (Honestly, my vanity shames me sometimes.)

TWO came up beside me. I closed my laptop. No need for her to witness her mother’s pitiful behavior.

TWO: “Mama? Can I tell you sumping?”

ME: “Sure, baby.”

TWO: “You are the most beautiful Mama in the world, and the prettiest. And I like other Mamas too, because, you know, they’re nice. But you’re the best in our house because you’re my Mama.”

Ugh. I was so busted. I tsked myself I went back to the original.

And gasped.

Funny how much I liked the photo before I messed with it, but in reverting to the original I looked like a zombie. Oh well. I do my best. My face is my face. (And frankly, I’ve been a part-time zombie for the last seven years.)

But because of all the time I spent editing this image, I recognized that someone else had altered my face in the other photo. Which was a really strange feeling. I’m just a plain ol’ person. No magazine covers for me. But someone else looked at my face, found the same flaws that I did, and removed them. I’ll admit, I liked how I looked without the luggage, but still…I didn’t look like me.

And in case you hadn’t heard, I’m the most beautiful Mama in our house. That’s right. Bags, veins, and all.






TheKitchenWitch August 28, 2012 at 7:29 am

Can you come edit the bags under my eyes? I’d love for them to disappear. And a few other things as well…

Yvonne Moss August 28, 2012 at 9:11 am

I say just rid the orange and leave the rest to nature! You are the most beautiful mama in your house. And probably over a few other houses as well.

Jessica August 28, 2012 at 9:14 am

So the zombie thing never goes away? How depressing. I am tempted quite often to photoshop myself…I can’t find a button that tightens abs and reduces rears though.

ck August 31, 2012 at 6:41 am

I’m still looking for the one that inflates bras back to pre-child measurements. ((sigh))

Tara W August 28, 2012 at 11:28 am

I am quite sure you are the most beautiful momma in lots of houses! I adore how God uses your beautiful little girls to whisper to you sometimes! Its so precious!

ck August 31, 2012 at 6:42 am

That is such a beautiful image. I never thought of it that way. Thank you, Tara!

Gigi August 28, 2012 at 6:13 pm

Bless her sweet, little heart! She is right though – you are a beautiful momma. It’s funny how the things that bother us; that we fixate on, they don’t even see because they are looking at us with love.

Emily @ Motherfog August 28, 2012 at 8:35 pm

Kids have a way of zipping right into the core, don’t they? And I agree. You’re gorgeous. Dark circles and all. (which I didn’t notice, btw). My dark circles are my nemesis. But blame as I may on my children, my mother has them too. Not much we can do about genes! Except, she also had five children. Hmmmm.

ck August 31, 2012 at 6:44 am

It’s true! Under-eye baggage runs in my family as well. And as much as I’d like to blame it on them, if I do then I’ll have to accept that I won’t wake up one day and find them gone. (I think I’m going to cling to that a little longer…)

dumb mom August 29, 2012 at 7:24 am

Yeah, I think you’re a hottie. Edited, or unedited I think you look amaze-balls. And I KNOW you’re the best mama in your house, possibly also even in mine. I’m actually slightly afraid for my children to meet you. I will admit though, that I am of the opinion that friends don’t let friends show up online without a little bit of assistance. Even if that is just NOT posting the photo where I’m guffawing with my tonsils showing and my back all hunchy in that mama-told-me-to-sit-up-or-I’d-ruin-my-spine-way I have a tendency of doing. I appreciate that effort. I do not appreciate the “friends” who post photos of me sweated out and wonky eyed with a fork of food heading towards my mouth. Those people hate me. I’m certain of it.

ck August 31, 2012 at 6:45 am

Okay, I concede. You’re right – friends don’t let friends show up online without a little bit of assistance. :)

Birdy August 29, 2012 at 7:34 pm

I love that pic of you two! And you are the most beautiful mama in the world…in more ways than one :)

Dawn @What's Around the Next Bend? August 30, 2012 at 12:49 am

If you Photoshop yourself, how am I going to recognize you when we finally meet in RL?? ;)
**Notice I didn’t put “if we ever meet” because I KNOW it will happen one day :)

Love, love, LOVE your daughters!! Always the right words at the right time!

ck August 31, 2012 at 6:46 am

YES! And I can’t wait to hang out. Soon, right?

Eli@coachdaddyblog August 30, 2012 at 10:11 am

It’s funny – I looked at the first picture and said, “cute.”

Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri September 5, 2012 at 5:55 pm

CK, as an Indian woman I’ve battled the undereye circles for as long as I remember. A makeup person once told me to embrace them as a part of my beauty. I thought that was a stretch, but they are a part of me…

My daughter has also told me countless times of how I pretty I am. It’s a great reminder, isn’t it? I am glad yours came at the most opportune time.

naptimewriting September 7, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Oh, sleepless eye bags. They age me twenty years. Meh. Looking 60 is easier than fighting the dark circles.

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