Last month, I listened as a friend stood up in a conference session on video-blogging and told the room that someone had once advised her to never put herself in front of the camera. “He told me,” she said, “that I have a ‘far-away’ face.” A face, that is, that is best viewed from a distance. A face that one’s mother could love, and maybe some others, but not everybody, and certainly not a camera.
Everyone in the room gasped, of course. Most, too, I suspect, cringed inwardly at some similar memory – a schoolmate teasing them about their hair, a friend commenting on their weight, a well-meaning relative remarking that ‘she’d be so pretty if it weren’t for her nose’ – some memory of some statement that maybe wasn’t meant to hurt, but did, because it aggravated all those insecurities, all those doubts, all those misgivings that we have about how we are seen. We were all, I am sure, thinking that the words that were spoken to Loralee were ridiculous and wrong. But we were – many of us, some of us, I am sure – also thinking that those words could have been spoken to us. It is easy to see the beauty in others. It is so hard to see it in ourselves.