Confession Tuesday: The Shallow Insecurities Edition

Dear Reader, 

It's been a couple weeks since my last confession. What does this mean? There's a lot to talk about and I've had a lot of insecurities lately, so if you have these (or any) insecurities also, you will know you are not alone...

To the confessional--

I confess, while I do like some of my photos, I tend not to like them until about a week or month or so has passed.  Only then can I look back at the image and not see myself, but some other person and maybe it's with time, I see myself as someone else and maybe I'm easier on her, I'm not sure.

On Sunday I had the opportunity to work with an amazing photographer named Kat St. John.  She's not only a photographer, but a makeup artist too.  The full-meal deal. 

I arrive with my hair a little ferryboat windblown and absolutely no makeup.  On the ferry, I kept thinking people were looking at me.  I wondered, "Is it because I look worse...or better?" This brought up insecurities that 1) I am a horror sans makeup  2) I do not know how to apply makeup so when I don't wear it, I look better and people are noticing.  

Either way, they were probably looking at me because I was carrying a men's suit onto the boat and a few other hangers of items I brought for the photoshoot.

Kat does my makeup and we went with something out of my comfort zone-- dark eyeliner and shadow.  This is good for me. I am routine and love my comfort zone (a lot).

I have a graduate degree, have cofounded a small press, kayaked with Orca whales, given birth, can do a handstand, I mountain bike down steep thin-trailed hills, and always choose the fastest line at a bank, but I cannot for the life of me, apply eyeshadow without making myself look as if I'm trying to out for the part of Frank NFurter in the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

We start to take photos, I am awkward at best, goofball at worst. I freeze up, I try to look casual, smart, sexy, interesting, alluring-- but my face always looks the same:  dorky and confused. 

Kat helps by directing me with what to do with my hands, which I had forgotten about. She is encouraging, funny, easy, and making me feel much more comfortable with myself.  I get better, by the end, I'm actually attempting to pose and almost *be* model-like, at least in spirit.


I confess in my rational mind, I know I'm not hideous, but when I think look at photos I tend to notice things I don't like. I know this isn't helpful.   

Like my nose.  It's broken.  And if we somehow get into a topic about broken noses, I will grab your hand and make you touch my nose so you can feel the bump.  Yes, that's weird. But I do it every time.  We may have just met and if you bring up broken noses, you are feeling my face.

But here's the thing, when I look at other people, I don't see any of that.  In fact, unless someone is a jerk or an arse to me or someone else, I have hard time *not* falling in love with them.  When I look at others, I tend to see beauty, and when I look at myself, I see a list of mistakes.

I don't want this to sound completely miserable. It's not, sometimes I can see the good things too and do. 

photo by Kat St. John

Kat takes beautiful photographs so I've had to look at myself with new eyes.  

I'm trying my best to this.  This is wonderful and painful at the same time. Why is it so hard to love ourselves ( says the poet switching into "we" because it's so much easier to say than "I"). Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn't. 

Insecurities as Poet:

I had a book release reading which went wonderfully, over-the-top fantastic, standing-room-only-on-a-sunny-day!  Books sold! People came and said nice things.

A half-hour before the reading, I said, "What if nobody shows up?" 

I worry that no one likes/liked or will ever my work. Why would anyone come to see me?

I keep a long list of shallow insecurities.  

I can get this weird need for validation and not all the time, but every-so-often, and when it comes on full-force I think, "This is ridiculous to need this much acknowledgment." But there it is.  

I think part of it is being a writer/artist in the world.  
I think part of it is being human.

This want to be validated.
This you-are-amazing-and-talented! This you-have-so-much-to-offer!

But the worst feeling or need to be validated is wanting something, but not knowing what it is.  

Like being chosen for a play I didn't even know I was auditioning for, I sometimes yearn for that. Being picked out of a crowd. 

Maybe the spring and a little more sunshine will help the light shine through. Maybe I just need to be a little less hard on myself.  All things I'm trying to work on. 

We need to realize we are enough.
We always have to be enough.

I know one way to help everything is gratitude.  Maybe that's what I need more of in my life. Maybe a more thankfulness all around.



(P.S.  If you'd like, please feel free to add your own insecurities in comment section-- anonymous comments always welcome for those feeling shy).  It kind of feels good to say them out loud...

~ Kells

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  1. That photo is stunning. You are gorgeous. Embrace it. :) I know it is easier said than done, but seriously, that is a fab photo.

    I can totally relate to the whole photoshoot thing. I had a former co-worker who wanted volunteers so she could build her photography portfolio. I hated every single photo. Ugh. Just too many shots of the same face straining to look natural or smart or sassy and they all looked the same. Horrible. And, since I see that she hasn't ventured into the photography realm, I totally feel like my ugly photos are to blame. LOL.

    And the eyeshadow/liner issue cracked me up because I can't seem to master that either. I always laugh about the commercial when the mom has shocked her kids into silence because she's created the "smoky eye" and totally failed. That is me.

    I think you are absolutely right that part of insecurity is just being human, and part is being a writer/artist. There are just inherent insecurities in creating. I've gotten to the point where I can't even submit my writing anywhere. Like the pressure is just too much. Getting a degree in writing has put the fear in me that I will submit something and people will think it is completely stupid and wonder how I ever received a degree or why my writing isn't better. I am stuck. I've also been convincing myself that when I finally search for a job, I won't be able to get one because... well, I don't even know. I have about a million reasons even though they are not logical.

    It is crazy what we do to ourselves.

  2. Here are my confessions:

    I'm on a medication that makes me swell up and I feel absolutely enormous, beached-whale enormous, so enormous that I don't want to be seen in public.

    And today I hate all my poems.

    This too shall pass.

  3. Love the photo! You are stunning and Kat did a super job :).

  4. Love the photo! You are stunning and Kat did a super job :).

  5. I did not realize broken noses were so common. I have one too, but I've never been especially bothered so much by mine which is probably because I am especially convinced that the focal point of my face is my mouth which I'm certain has absolutely no "natural" smile. Any smile that appears on it feels totally forced and unnatural to me.

    Most of the time that I'm all happy and around other people it will suddenly hit me after a while (usually because I'm Laughing) that I've started to smile and I want to go hide because it just seems unnatural and I'm convinced the world sees it that way as well.

    Just for the record Kel, I've never seen you take a bad picture.You may not feel comfortable - but you are very photogenic. 167 59988542

  6. Wow. I've always thought you were very pretty from the first time I saw you. I can't believe you think you ever look dorky or confused. But we are our own worst enemies. I've got a big Jew nose and am and have always been very self conscious about that. I didn't even notice your nose has a bump! The head games we play with ourselves is just ridiculous. Of course it's great to have a professional photog and make-up, but you look great in all your pictures! And in person ;)

  7. Thank you all! Yes, we can definitely be our own worst critics.

    What's odd is how insecurities can sneak up on you in the night then be gone. They are like rabbits. Quick, fast, and sometimes multiplying. OR they are hiding under a bush.

    I think just being thankful for what we have and who we are.

    I also think taking Vitamin D helps too. ;-)

    Thank you all for your kind notes, honest comments, and graciousness. Yes, this too shall pass. And to Anonymous-- sometimes I hate all my poems too. xo

  8. I just want to thank you for posting your confession blogs. I don't comment on them nearly enough, but they make me think, relax, and feel better. They make me feel not alone. They give me fresh perspective. All because you are willing to share your own thoughts. So thank you.

    The photo of you is stunning, but I understand that difficulty in appreciating yourself. I am just beginning to learn how to apply this to myself. Little steps. Bit by bit.

    And congratulations on your excellent poetry reading!! That's fantastic!! If ever I reach the point that I get to have a reading, I can guarantee you I'll have the same fear... no one showing up. Isn't that something we all fear? At least a little?


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