Perfectly Imperfect | Colorado Glamour Photography
“You could cover up more, ma’am!”
I heard the high pitched, drawn out voice from across the produce aisle while grocery shopping with my kids. I was bent over one of those huge watermelon boxes, looking for a ripe one. I’m short and top heavy, so I was head down in the box when I heard her. I thought to myself, “crap, did my dress fall down?”, but a quick boob check confirmed that no, all the bits were covered. I wear my favorite long flowy summer dresses nearly every day in the summer, and, you know, boobs have a mind of their own. But it wasn’t happening, so I assumed she wasn’t talking about me and continued on my watermelon thumping way. When I came up for air, I heard it again.
I looked up and saw an older woman, probably in her late 60’s, glaring at me. She immediately went on a LOUD tirade: “What is the matter with you? In front of your children? That is disgusting, you need to cover up! You should be ASHAMED OF YOURSELF! Seriously, in front of your children dressed like that?! Ugh!” The hatred and disgust was so obvious in her face, she was literally uncontrollably repulsed by me and my appearance. I was shocked. I should be ashamed of myself? You are yelling at me about being disgusting in front of my children? It took me a few seconds to even understand what was happening.
She said all of it while walking away, shaking her head, and snarling at me. I chose to speak back. “Okay, you need to take it easy. I’m wearing a strapless dress while running errands. Excuse me, but there is nothing wrong with my appearance. So please, relax.”
“YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF! THAT IS DISGUSTING!”
All I could do was pick up my watermelon, and suggest to my kids that we get the heck out of that store. I am still shocked at her reaction to my exposed bare shoulders and arms. Is it the tattoos that set her off? The bare back that let my shoulder blades run wild? The fact that I was alone and young with three kids? It certainly couldn’t be how revealing my dress is, especially since most of it was buried in a box of watermelons. All the revealing parts and big curves were hidden from her!
It all got me thinking: what is and isn’t acceptable? Is this a curvy girl problem, a tattoo problem, or a bitchy old lady problem? What sort of things do I want to teach my children about this situation? Am I in the wrong, do I just not see that I look like a hot mess?
NO. I don’t. I’m clean, healthy, put together, and an excellent example of what a mom should be. I’m also curvy, hopelessly unfashionable, feisty, unapologetic, imperfect and perfect.
She had absolutely no right to try and tell me who to be. Or what to wear, how to look, how to act, or to be ashamed of myself. The only thing in this situation that could make me ashamed of myself is if I actually believed her.
In the car on the way home, I asked my daughters if they heard her yell at me. They said yes, and that they didn’t understand why. I explained it like this, “Sometimes people are mean. They think you should look or act a certain way. And she is wrong. She was mean and wrong. There is nothing wrong with my dress, is there? I think it is pretty, and it makes me feel good. When people are mean like that, it is absolutely fine to stand up for yourself. I’m sorry I raised my voice at her, but she was wrong, and you can ALWAYS stand up for yourself. NO ONE can tell you how to be you.”
So thank you, old curmudgeon, for giving me the perfect opportunity to teach my girls that valuable lesson. No one will ever dull their shine, and seeing your ugly words fall at my feet is the best way for them to learn. They are perfectly imperfect, just like me.
Since I am all about confidence and self-acceptance here at Jen Swedhin Photography, let’s turn this into something awesome. I want to see how you are perfectly imperfect, too. It can be anything – the crazy way you dress, your art, your nutty family, or just you being awesome. I will be giving away 10 complimentary sessions for boudoir or glamour, plus a $50 product credit to the most perfectly imperfect photos I see.
To enter, share a photo on my Facebook page, or tag me on Instagram (@JenSwedhin), or post to your wall (be sure to make it public!), and be sure to use the hashtag #perfectlyimperfect on all of them.
I will choose winners next week, so let’s see what you’ve got!
And in case you were wondering, THIS is exactly how I looked at the supermarket. Cute as hell, if you ask me!
Thanks big time to my hubby Brian for snapping some photos of me!