THE IMAGE RE-IMAGINED
Recently, I was invited to take part in a photo shoot on the theme of the writer’s habitat. The photographer is highly talented, enormously creative, and prone to working with hip young things, so I was being paid a huge compliment. Any right thinking person would have jumped at the opportunity to buy in. Instead, I ran a metaphorical hundred metre dash in the opposite direction. Failed the first hurdle, dropped the baton. No medal, no purchase, no sale. Clearly, my sanity had been passed in at auction. Sigh.
So what was going on in my head? I’m not photogenic, I’m 10 kilos overweight, which as everyone knows equates to an extra five in a photograph, and I have a chipped tooth, that’s what! In addition, my writer’s habitat is a perfect shambles at the moment. Not that that would matter if the writer looked halfway decent. I could have donned a French beret and a ton of mascara and dismissed tidiness as impossibly ordinary behaviour unbecoming to a serious writer.
It took nearly a week to deal with the self-hating, insecure teenager, who had emerged in my otherwise mature head. The truth is, I actually like myself and the person I have grown into. I’m comfortable with who I am. But it has been a process of years to accept the packaging Creator God gave me; to accept that He deems ‘good’ what He made and loves what He sees. I just didn’t believe it enough. Not enough to submit to a series of photographs, anyway. So I have been taking stock. I wouldn’t dream of despising the physical imperfections of any of God’s other creations - all His works are wonderful ‘and that my inner self knows right well’ as Psalm 139 puts it – despite how society might shun, ignore or pity them. To despise the packaging I am in, is to despise the Designer. God forbid.
The same Psalm records that our bodies were ‘formed in secret, intricately and curiously wrought as if embroidered with various colours’. On my way to my seventh decade, I intend to re-imagine the image I have long held of myself. I rather like the imagery of myself as colourful embroidery!