I did something I haven’t done since 2012 this past Wednesday — I stood in front of the camera lens for over an hour. Even now, I am a little-nauseated thinking about it. I have always been more comfortable behind the lens having studied photography for four years. It helps that my new friend, Nannette, was the one in control of my photo shoot, while my friend and mentor Danica promised to kick my rear with her tiny little heels if I didn’t do it. The prospect of Jimmy Choo indentions on your derriere is a great motivator.
As I look back at what I just wrote, I realize that Nannette was the person directing the shoot, but she allowed me the actual control. Sure she cajoled and made me laugh, but I now know that I was leading the entire time. There is something empowering about that I haven’t felt in a long time. I realize now that I felt more like me and who I want to be, and possibly even who I used to be than I have in… decades.
When I was 15, my friend Trinity photographed me. I was wearing a pink shirt and had horrible hair (it was the 80’s). Even now, years later, I can remember her telling me how pretty I looked in pink. That shirt I wore is what people now call “millennial pink” but I rocked it in 1988. I wore the same color when Nanette photographed me. She was surprised that I wore a shirt that was subtle in tone, as she expected me to be wearing some much bolder to fit my personality and “because you were so alive and funny on the first night we met.”
That is where the rub comes in, I had no idea my personality was bold. I also rarely, if ever, show my funny side. If I do, it means I am so comfortable with you that I truly let go and am the person that only a handful of people see. And it is usually my husband and son who see it on a day in, day out basis. Most people encounter super serious and quiet Lisa.
I found myself the next day doing a short Instagram video where my friend Stephanie told me I was “fabulous” and needed to do videos more often. And I am sitting here shaking my head still trying to figure that out.
What I have learned is that people see so much that you never see when you are looking in the mirror at yourself. What reflects back is all of the negative thoughts, the doubts, the whys and wondering how you got to where you are today.
There is one time in my life that I keep going back to — 1988. I was 15, had split off from my group in Paris and instead of being the good girl and heading to the Louvre with everyone else, I went to visit Jim Morrison’s grave at the Père Lachaise. I don’t even know why I went as I wasn’t that much of a Doors fan at the time. But go I did and managed to get myself across Paris with speaking a word of French and back to my hotel, meeting benevolent strangers along the way who helped me figure out where I needed to be with nothing more than a smile, wild gesticulations, and a well-worn map.
As I try and figure out what has changed in the past 30 years (how has it been that long?) I go back to that time period and wondering what caused this massive change. From the brave girl in a foreign land to a mouse who has been afraid of her shadow too often to count.
I can’t answer that question and wish I could. But there is one thing I do know — I need more pink in my life and clothing.