Here's Why I've Been Dodging Pictures...

… and it’s got nothing to do with the digits in my jeans.

When it comes to having my photo taken, I’ve spent most of my life unapologetically selfish – I simply avoid them at all cost. 

I think only about myself in that photo, completely ignoring that you might be having an amazing document-worthy hair day or that having this moment preserved for life might mean more than what I’m about to share. 

It’s definitely not something I’m proud of, and I want to be clear it’s got nothing to do with how uncomfortable I was in that bridesmaids dress or the fact that my hair hasn’t seen a proper regiment in years. It’s not as simple as vanity keeping me from the group lineup.  

Here’s the real deal:

I’m not ready. 

You see, photos can be forever – that’s really kind of the point. They mark our space in time and progress and placement, and it’s been a while since I believed deep down that I was showing up as my best self anywhere. For anything. For anyone

I’ve cut a lot of corners in my adulthood, because some days a girl does just what she needs to get by. Blame it on life, kids, jobs, marriage, hormonal mama-drama – whatever you may – somewhere along the way that became a habit. Busy became a habit. Being too busy became an excuse for not finishing anything, including showing up fully. 

As a result, I’ve been living a half-ass life, and I know it. So that picture you just want to snap real quickly? No. I don’t want photographic proof that I didn’t show up … let alone, for you. 

You deserve to be standing next to a woman who loves herself enough to love you more. You deserve to hang out in the glow of a woman with joy running so deep not even lipstick on her teeth could shake that smile. You deserve to lock into lifelong memory the image of a woman who set a new standard, created a life unlike any other and did it all with insurmountable grace … and a pair of completely fabulous heels. 

I, on the other hand, slap my makeup on in the office parking lot most days. 

I have no less than 10 projects 75% completed and countless days past due.

My inbox is a disaster, second only to my laundry piles.

I am a terrible cook.

I have a job I don’t love because it pays the bills. 

Don’t even talk to me about Christmas cards or formal birthday invitations. 

My current shoes are completely tattered, and I wear them anyway.

I religiously get everyone else ready then storm around the house packing diaper bags, cursing the clock and rushing out the door bare-faced in old, wrinkled clothes, when I’ve known for weeks (OK sometimes years!) that this day was coming. 

I don’t even know this woman in the mirror most days, you guys, let alone to want to preserve her being in your amazing life. I’m not sure how she got here, what happened to all those big things in her path or how it all came to this. And I sure as hell don’t want her picture for a lifetime.

She’s just a tiny piece of this story, and she is not my end

I’m learning, though, sometimes the messy middle holds the magic. What if today’s picture of this woman I barely recognize is instead a benchmark? What if some day she’ll be just the reminder I need that I can conquer hard things? What if this tired, weakened smile reminds me of all I’m made of? 

What if embodying this external picture of all the internal crazy is the single most important step to becoming that badass woman you deserve? The woman that I deserve. 

Here’s the lesson, friend: sometimes in life, we have to show up before we’re ready. We have to be willing to get it done rather than get it picture perfect. 

Step right into who you are before you have the right body, hair, degree or connections. Stop judging yourself for where you haven’t been and put your focus on where you’re going.

Lean into that dream, the magic of who you are meant to be, and then take a freaking picture because you cannot raise a bar you have yet to set. 

What are you not ready for? Spill the beans in the comments below


Kate Johnson

is a writer, mama, farm wife and firm believer in chasing dreams from wherever you are.

Kate left her corporate career in the financial industry to pursue a masters degree in fashion journalism and a career in public relations. After freelancing in fashion PR and working with an east coast agency, she brought her focus back to the communities around her.

Currently navigating a corporate career, writing projects, motherhood and wifing, Kate is learning to grow in the corn fields where she is planted. You can follow her at @bykatejohnson.

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