God has given you one face, and you make yourself another.
I have avoided this for a very long time, thought I might get away with it. Though it's requested regularly I do not have a photograph that people can use on advertising. I'm told, though I don't believe, that seeing the speaker's picture encourages people to register. Ummm, why?
For reasons I don't want to get into here, it comes to pass that I have to actually have one of those things. I don't like having my picture taken, I don't like posing for shots, I don't like the entire process. Every time, except one (there is a story there), that I've been asked to pose for a picture at a lecture, I have done so. Every time, I smile. Every time, I mean it, I'm always a little in shock that someone would want their picture with me, always a little honoured too. So, other's have pictures of me, but I don't.
Mike, dad to Ruby, husband to Marissa, is a photographer and takes amazing shots. He's done wonderful work at Vita with people with disabilities and I'm used to him being around taking pictures, that's what he does, it's part of who he is. I notice his camera as little as he notices my wheelchair. So, I asked him if he'd take something official. He has a thousand, no exaggeration, shots of Joe and I over the years. He sends them to us in dribs and drabs, not wanting to overwhelm us. We really aren't much into pictures. So I just left it to him to catch a candid moment.
So, yesterday, Mike emailed to say that he'd done my photograph and wanted to send it electronically. I gulped. I don't want to get into a history of being bullied, teased, called ugly and worse - that's only part of what bothers me. I have an easier relationship with my body, fat and disabled, than I do with my face. I'm not one who passes a mirror by with a stealthy glance. I'm one who uses a mirror to shave. That's it.
We are insecure, all of us, about things shallow and deep, profound and profane. But, I had no choice and I asked Mike to go ahead and hit send. I'm a little surprised that I'm going to show this picture here on my blog. I'm a little surprised that I'm trusting all of you so very much. But, it's just that I thought Mike did a really good job. I called to tell him so and he went on and on about lighting and texture and stuff. I just said, 'I like it.' He just said, 'Cool.'
So here it is, for the first time ever -
A Portrait of An Activist As An Old Man: