I accidentally schooled myself on confidence, today. Or, rather, got schooled by my dad and a bunch of friends. (Thanks, Facebook.) I had to upload a photo to Facebook in order to upload it to the press credential application site for the Sundance Film Festival. Jeff had sent me some head shots, early this morning, that he had taken a few weeks ago. I sent him a thank you text (he’s working out of town, this week), and he replied, “Are those ok?” Meaning: will they work. My response was, “They’ll need major retouching for social media but they are just fine for Sundance. After all, they usually lose the jpeg file and I have to retake my photo at credential pickup.” Yes, I write verbose texts. Sue me. And, bad wife, I forgot to tell him how nicely they were framed and lit—very nicely, indeed.
Jeff, to his credit, didn’t dignify that with any sort of “Oh, stop, you look great.” Which is not to say he didn’t think it, but he knew better than to argue with me about my vanity at the exact moment he knew I was juggling my fussy coffee-brewing routine (because he’s too far away to make my espresso) with my fussy-breakfast-cooking-routine. (Don’t ask. It’s the one meal I can cook well, reliably, so I always fix a hot breakfast for my family, but it’s usually more than one, because we all like different things. And I can’t bear to part with this ritual.)
And as I went about that routine, I pondered the images. Which is to say, I started mentally searching my calendar for a good time to book a facial—a microdermabrasion facial, perhaps. Something to really erase whatever the fuck happened to my skin, for instance.
An hour or so later, when I quickly uploaded the photo to Facebook, in spite of my insistence to Jeff that I’d need him to retouch these before using them in any public forum, it was a conscious decision to accept these beautiful photographs. “Fuck it,” I thought. “Just yesterday I saw this great tweet from Amy Schumer, with her bare-all photo for the Pirelli calendar, and I thought how awesome that she is using her fame to show off true beauty—humanity, confidence.” I published it without comment. And then, my dad and a bunch of friends took over, pouring on the kind words. Which, bias notwithstanding, I knew were heartfelt. I thought: These are cute photos, and they look like me. Not some airbrushed version of me, not some professionally-styled version of me. Just me, on a Sunday in November, age 42 (fully clothed, you’re welcome), feeling happy and, yes, confident. No airbrush, required.