I’m Coming Out

smiling me

Saturday, April 20, 2013
about 4pm on a really good day

Hi, this is me.  

I was trying to edit my “About” page for this blog and I realized that I’ve been hiding.  I can tell all kinds of stories about heartache and empowerment and rebuilding, but I have been afraid to just show ME.  So today I am coming out of the photo booth.  

Most of y’all have known me since I wiped my nose on my sleeve, but some of you are strangers.  Hello to all.  My name is Ashley and I am the Baddest Mother Ever!  

This picture was emailed to me yesterday from a photo booth that I sat in last weekend.  It was Alumnae Weekend at my alma mater (Kathy Bradley, author of “Breathing and Walking Around” taught me that the phrase means “nourishing mother”).  I had a fantastic weekend, filled with stomach-lurching challenges (like leading a formal meeting with 1000 people, fire, and an organist) and breathtaking successes (that meeting, even with a couple of glitches).  I made new friends who graduated before I was born.  I hugged necks of friends I hadn’t seen in 20 years.  I met our oldest graduate, 106 and there for her 85th reunion.  My spirit was nourished.  I challenged myself, rewarded myself, believed in myself. 

And look at how it shows on my face!  Normally, pictures of me make me see wrinkles and gray and extra chins, but this picture…I can’t help but smile at myself.  I LOOK LIKE MYSELF.  

Five Things I Love About This Picture

  1. My whole face is smiling, even behind my ears.  
  2. I am wearing something colorful that says, “Hey, look at me!” instead of something drab that says, “Nothing to see here, move along.”
  3. I went into the photo booth wearing a pair of ridiculously huge, bedazzled sunglasses but I put them on my head so I could see myself.
  4. That necklace is made from my late husband’s wedding ring.  I don’t wear it often because I have a toddler who likes to grab things.  
  5. My gray hair looks kind of like highlights.  

How long has it been since you posted a picture of yourself on Facebook?  Yesterday, I saw Nicki making a muscle she’s worked hard to earn.  Today, Alice was having breakfast with her son.  Lucy had some cute hair going on.  Kimberly’s son is taller than she is.  Felicia is at the paddock.  What are the rest of you doing?  

Your babies are adorable.  Your cats couldn’t be cuter.  And that lunch you had yesterday…yum!  But let’s see more pictures of you!  It’s my challenge to you today.  Post that pic of YOU.  

31 thoughts on “I’m Coming Out

  1. Terri

    Okay, I posted a picture of me in a swimsuit (which, I admit was covered by a life jacket but it still showed my big ol’ arms). But I figured the dolphin I was riding would draw some of the attention away from me. 😉 You are SO right.

    I think we need to see a pic of the bedazzled shades, though. And I think the grey “highlights” make you look all sparkly. Seriously. And definitely not in an “Edward” way.

  2. Lisa in Athens

    I was actually considering doing that today – favorite jeans, a t-shirt that FITS, good hair. The end of the day hasn’t happened, though. The hair could go by the wayside, at which point, I’ll grab the dog and make him snarl at me. He loves that.

  3. Michelle

    Timing is everything. I was onsite for a client event last night, but no one else wanted to be photographed on the “tail shaking” machine. So guess who did? This girl. I have assets 🙂

  4. Cynthia @ Flotsam of the Mind

    I’m so happy to see this post. Until recently, my blog About photo was a black and white photo of me wearing sunglasses and staring into the distance, as if I were mysterious or cool, neither of which are the case. When I replaced it with a “real photo” of me, I hesitated because I was enjoying hiding behind those sunglasses. It seemed like a false distinction because I was sharing my thoughts and feelings for all the Internet to see. Glad to know I’m not the only one who had this issue!

    Great happy photo.

  5. efennell007

    I have very few pictures of myself. I’m just now starting to fear that one day, when my kids are old(er), I will have no pictures of myself with them. At the moment, almost the only ones that exist are of me, upside down in a c-section room while someone holds the baby next to me. It’s still hard to get up the nerve to actually let someone take a picture of me…alone or with my kids. If you remember, Ashley, I stepped out of a picture honoring you a few years ago at our then-mutual work place. That’s how bad I am. Bleh. Can I blame it on gaslighting?

  6. S.A.M.

    Ashley, you are still gorgeous! You always have been! And not just on the outside, either!

    I wish I had the nerve to post pictures of myself. Or even to let anyone take any of me. I still can’t get to that place yet. I hope one day….

    1. Baddest Mother Ever

      How about taking a picture of a part of yourself that you like? Cute feet. Pretty hair in the sun. An ear lobe. The curve of your neck. Hands like bird wings. Sometimes we can allow pieces of ourselves to be called lovely!

  7. Holly Parker

    Hi Ashley. You are beautiful. You wouldn’t happen to be a Purple Knight, would you? Genie from Athens got me started with you and now I cannot wait for your blog to arrive in my mailbox! I had just shared that poem, Love After Love, with Genie and my friends. I really feel a connection with you for so many reasons. You are a wonderful writer.

  8. tanyadiva

    Wish I could have seen you last weekend – I hope to go next year. You look lovely, of course. My goal when photographed at the reunion is to look like the drag queen I am inside. Cheers!

  9. Jody Riggs

    Ashley, I LOVE this picture of you — so glad you can see yourself in this picture as the rest of us see you……so proud to call you friend.

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