A seemingly innocuous thing has been weighing on my mind so I thought I would unburden myself here. I'm going to talk about pictures. Not the diatribe (which is sadly necessary in this day and age) we see regularly from photographers justifying their prices or begging people to not pirate their photos. No, today's writing is directed at the subject matter in the photos, the people themselves.
We've all been there, hot, sweaty, tired, exhausted, and a camera gets stuck in our face. For many people this is ultimate uncomfortable situation, they don't like having their picture taken when they feel their best, let alone when they feel like they have been trodden on by a herd of horses. They wonder, doesn't this camera fiend realize I have things to do, don't they realize how gross I feel at this moment? You might think I'm going to stand up for that tired sweaty person who just wants to get home and go to bed, but I'm not.
I'm going to take a stand here for the friends and family who stick by us, the people who always have a cold water ready, a kind word, a giant hug, a euphoric high five. I'm here to root on the mom's that are stuck by the sidelines worrying, the dads trying to understand a foreign sport that involves not one ball. The brothers and sisters bored out of their minds who still manage to cheer as we cross the finish line. This is for the entire tribe of people who make our participation in whatever we are doing possible, the people who are there for our highs as well as more importantly for our lows. These people who give up their weekends and evenings and air conditioned houses to spend hours in sweltering sun to root us on in our 120 seconds of performance. The people who put up with our bad moods, broken bones and spirits, and the inevitable harsh words that escape from our mouths in moments of frustration. These are the people that make our dreams possible, these are the people that create the wind beneath our wings.
So, when someone from your tribe of supporters puts a camera in your face, make the effort. You might feel gross, you might be capable of nothing more than a smile more akin to a grimace, but make the effort. These people unquestioningly support our wild plans, they root us on during our best, and glue us back together at our worst, so make the effort. If for some reason these people want to commemorate a weekend spent in the heat and dust without the comforts of home, blowing their hard earned money to the wind, make the effort. Don't roll your eyes, don't glare, don't stomp about, just make the effort. You look into that camera, you think about the untold number of things you have to be thankful for and you do your darnedest to smile.
Overtime your memories of the frustrations you may have endured will fade, and I promise you at some point you will be happy that picture of you making the effort exists.
So, you read that and you still think pictures are an insult to your angelic self? Think about this. Life is finite, there are no guarantees that you will be here next month, next year, or even tomorrow. Do you want the last picture that your mother or father or sibling or friend or spouse has to look at to be of you scowling? People take pictures to represent a parcel of memories. Even if at the moment the camera appears you think a picture is unnecessary, remember that the person behind the camera just wants to preserve happy memories, to somehow keep a grasp of the whole experience as it fades into the shadows of time.
The next time you want to scowl at a camera, pause and think about everything that the person behind it has done for you, and please no matter how tired or frustrated you are, make the effort. I promise you won't regret it.