I Am Woman


This past week or so, blogging daily has been tough. I won't bore you with the 'whys'. I do that too often. Too many jobs/projects, not enough time. Enough said.

As you know from my last post, a bit of time was devoted to a photography shoot. One day we did location shots, another day studio shots. I kept asking Greg if he was using the 'young, pretty, skinny lens'. *g* He assured me that I looked fine. "You have great skin," he said. "Whoop-te-do," I thought. Although I suppose I should be thrilled. I credit my lifelong aversion to sunbathing and the loyal use of Ponds Cold Cream.

When Greg showed me the location proofs, he told me not to worry about any blemishes or pronounced wrinkles, flyaway hairs or unflattering shadows. "I can PhotoShop those out." To demonstrate, he maximized my face on the computer and brushed away a few of the deeper crow's feet. Wow. Now I know why celebs always look so flawless in those fashion layouts. The pictures here are uncropped and not retouched. Behold the real me. These were contenders, but not the ones I ended up choosing. I settled on two close-up studio shots and one location body shot with the Atlantic City skyline in the background. I'll share those later.

I have to say that, although the photography was great, I kept looking at the proofs thinking, "Who is that woman?" It's been a good ten years since I've had professional shots done. I guess I had a thirty-something me branded on my brain. In my heart and mind, I still feel like a 'girl'. But the face looking back at me in those photos definitely belonged to a woman. It was sort of... depressing. My husband, being the wonderful person he is, assured me that he loves 'that face'. Out of the many proofs, he thought several were contenders. It took me awhile, but after pouring over the photos, I started to get use to the woman staring back at me. That woman's lived a great life and the best is yet to come.

Question for the next day (or two): How old do you feel on the inside? Have you ever been surprised at the person looking back at you in the mirror?

Comments

Jordan Summers said…
I LOVE the top picture of you. I think it's fantastic. :) As to your questions, I feel like I'm thirty. I'm shocked every damn day I look in the mirror. I have NO IDEA who that is staring back at me. Certainly no one that I recognize.
Anonymous said…
Great pics! Personally, I feel like I'm 25 inside, which explains why my forties have been so shocking! If I ever need photos, I'll hire the best magician.
--Richard
Beth Ciotta said…
Thanks, Jordan! I like that picture, too, and may use it for something down the line, not sure what. As far as mirrors go, I'm amazed at what I see these days. The other morning, I found a white hair in my eyebrow! Not even grey, but WHITE! Thank God for tweezers.
Beth Ciotta said…
Glad you like the pics, Richard. I'm warming to them. :) As for the magician, trust me, all you need is someone who can work magic in Photo Shop! Makes you wnder what some of those celebs REALLY look like.
Roni said…
Sorry I haven't posted for a while. I've been busy with shopping/decorating/wrapping etc. and have hardly been on line. Then my editor asked for more (minor) revisions on my new book. I think both photos of you are fantastic Beth! And I think you look young. Looking at you in person or in the photos, I'd take you to be at most in your low 30s. As far as how I feel...sometimes I feel like I'm young...other days I wish I was and I feel my age (over 50).
Scott Oden said…
Wooohoooo . . . hubba-hubba, Beth ;) I like the top one; the dark coat gives you a stylish secret agent flair.

For the record, I'm a 15 year old trapped in a 40 year old's body (and believe me, there's nothing more dangerous than a 15 year old with a bank account). I still ooooh and aaaaah at movies, still play video games, still read the occasional comic book . . . then I look in the mirror and wonder who that old fart is.

Hey, if I weren't portly I'd take up skateboarding . . .
FeyRhi said…
The top picture is my favourite of the two as well. Geez if these didn't make the top 3 I can't wait to see them. You look great in the ones you posted.

Mentally, I pretty much peaked at 23-24. LOL I never really notice how much my face had changed until I came across a picture of my mum, at my age *gasp* I'm her! Just a lot taller *G*
Anna Lucia said…
I think you're crazy! How could you not look at that top picture and think, Wow, that woman is STUNNING!

Me? Sometimes I feel about ten. Somtimes about a hundred... But I've never looked in the mirror and really recognised the person looking back at me. ;-)
Beth Ciotta said…
Hi Roni! Always happy to see your posts. I think a lot of people are shying away from the Internet this month, well, except for on-line shopping! Busy month for all.Bumer that you had some additional revisions in the midst of all this, but hopefully they were easy fixes.

Glad you like the photos and thank you for the HUGE compliment. You're very sweet. And no way do you look over 50. You're so hip and vibrant with such a positive energy. It all contributes to a youthful appearance. :)
Beth Ciotta said…
Why, Scott, *blush*, thank you. Yeah, that's me Secet Agent 000. More Maxwell Smart than James Bond. :)

Your description of yourself made me smile. It's actually quite endearing. Oh, and I've seen you in person. 'Oldfart' does not apply. :) But I know what you mean. After 40, the mirror is not our friend.
Beth Ciotta said…
Hi FeyRhi! Yup, the face change thing. That's what I'm talking about. The shape of my face seems different than what it was ten years ago. Rounder (although that could be from my renewed love of cookies). Crinkles at my eyes, a line (or two) on my forehead, less taut skin. *sigh* Nature. Gotta love it. Of course there are bonuses to getting older. Those are the things we need to focus on. :)
Beth Ciotta said…
I probably am crazy, Anna. *g* Actually when I don't think 'me', I am able to view the pictures more objectively. When you click on the top picture, you can better see the wrinkles and whatnot, the things I zoomed in on and went--ACK! I look VERY different in these pics then in ones taken ten years ago. That was the cause of the shock. But I am now embracing my uh, maturity. :)

As for never recognizing the person in the mirror, hey, now, that's intersting. Maybe you wear your heart on your sleeve? Meaning however you're 'feeling' that day shines through in a big way. That's pretty cool actually. ;)
Cyn said…
As always, Beth, the photos look great! Can't wait to see which ones won. The top photo is scary professional mainstream book jacket photo. One to creatively visualize on, which I know you do. :-)

Me, right now I have no idea what age I feel. But some days 20's, some days 40's, some days in my actual 30's. I can also say that feeling older isn't always the worst thing, as long as it doesn't involve aches and pains.
Jennifer Elbaum said…
Wow, if these are two pictures that didn't make the cut, I can't wait to see the ones that did, because you look gorgeous!
Tori Lennox said…
I absolutely love that top picture, Beth!!! As you know we're about the same age, but on the inside I still feel like I should be in my 20s or 30s. I freak out every time I see these darn gray hairs when I look in the mirror. :)
Beth Ciotta said…
Cyndi, you know me to well. I thought the same thing about the top photo and I am indeed visualizing. Thinking it would work well for the 'P' series *wink* should that fly.

Jen, thanks so much. Gee, you all are doing wonders for my dinged ego. :)

Tori, LOL And have you noticed that even though/if you color those grey hairs, the color fades like in two weeks! Currently I'm trying to think of the pesky silver buggers as funky highlights. :)
The trench coat picture is the best I've ever seen of you!
Mary Stella said…
I'm rarely surprised by the face in the mirror -- except on the days when I think I look half decent. *g* More and more I'm surprised when I remember that I'll be 49 soon. I'm like, "How'd I get to be THAT age?" At least I don't feel it most of the time, except when the arthritis in the knee kicks up or I spy one of those treacherous white chin hairs.
Anonymous said…
Yep, you look great in these pics. And what a body. *makes note to self to really, really get rid of those extra five kilos after Christmas*
Beth Ciotta said…
Toni, thanks so much. You know, I'm a little floored by the great response of the black coat shot I'm definitely going to use that in the future. It would compliment a new series I'm hashing out so... as Cyndi suggested, for now I'll use it for creative visualization!

Mary, I cannot believe that you'll be 49! To me your that crazy, wild twenty-something who frequented the Stone Pony. :) Except that life experience has made you really sharp and wise.

Gabrielle, you gotta get you one of those duel-action stationary bikes. It's really been helping me to trim my problem areas (hips and thighs and upper arms). I've been doing it six days a week and I'm up to 8 minutes a session. AND I do it while catching up with the morning news so it's not boring at all. :)
Anonymous said…
Lol, I'd need a larger flat first because I have no idea where to put such a thing. To afford a larger flat, I'd need a paying job. And in order to get a paying job I'd need to kill those fuckwits that ruin the German economy. Whereof I'd end up in jail, and there's no place to put a trainer, either. :)
barb said…
Wow, sorry I'm so late. Everyone else has taken the great comments. I think you have been, are and always will be one of the prettiest people I know. Age is only a number, your spirit is what really matters. It will stay young forever and live on eternally. You make a tremendous impact on the world.I love you.
Anonymous said…
Love picture one (seems that is the consensus)! Really, you look fabulous.

And, somewhere in my blog archive nether-regions is a post about the whole in-my-head and real age conflict. I honestly feel about 16 (STILL). And I feel it most, when I am trying to parent my kiddo. But, somewhere in my head, I know I have the confidence of a thirty-something (my real age). At 16 (or even 20), I would have never attempting writing a novel for publication. So, I guess, there is some truth to me feeling my age these days.

Again, great pictures, can't wait to see the real things!
Anna Lucia said…
This world is way too obsessed with wrinkles. Badges of honour! Medals of experience!

Think of the wonderful things that have happened to you in the last ten years - aren't they worth a facial change or two?

As for me, I think the face in the mirror isn't that real to me because I have such a strong imaginary and emotional/spiritual life. The mirror image is too flat, too... normal. ;-)

Way too boring a face to have all those stories happening behind it. :-D
ElsieHogarth said…
Hi Beth!

Sorry, I haven't been around since I'm trying to get over a very bad cold. Now I'm down to the headaches and a horrible sore throat. At least, now, the computer glare doesn't bother my eyes and I can be back on line.

Mirror, who has mirrors? Who looks in them? In another life I think I was a vampire due to the aversions to mirrors. I'll be 50 next month but inside I feel like 21(must keep it legal). Since Black is my favorite color, I love you in that photo the best. You're so adorable and Steve's a prince.
Anonymous said…
Well, I HAD left a comment here but the new beta blogger ate it. I'm sorry I signed up for that! Anyhow, a friend and I were discussing our looks and we decided that there's nothing wrong with looking like a woman--particularly when you are one.

These past few months, as I approach 46, I've really become ok with not looking 25 anymore. The actress Frances Mcdormand said something along the lines of when she turned 40, young men stopped looking at her. So she stopped looking ay herself through their eyes. I love that!

I also love all these photos. You look wonderful. Absolutely. Being a woman, not a girl, is fabulous--and so much sexier. Just ask any Frenchman *gg*.

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