40 over 40 Project - Carmel is a mother, health worker and beautiful
Carmel - Mother, Health Worker and Beautiful!
When I first read Carmel’s submission into the 40 over 40 project, 2 things stood out. The first was that she referred to herself as “fat” (I’d prefer to use the term curvy). Secondly, she absolutely avoids being in photos because she doesn’t want to “spoil” them for others.
She went on to explain “I’ve had a few health issues but really I’ve been fat all my life. I look back on photos of when I was told I was fat and OMG I was skinny…but I didn’t enjoy it. Because of my weight I absolutely avoid being in photos and for things like Christmas and christenings etc, I feel sorry for being in the photo and spoiling it for others. Recently, I realised that if I died, my young children would have very few photos of me in their life and certainly none that I am proud of. Even my daughter is embarrassed to be photographed with me”
I think a lot of women can relate to looking back at photos of ourselves and thinking we were smaller back than and for some reason that relates to being better. I think part of the beauty of getting older is that we can draw from a wealth of information and experience on any number of topics but when it comes to our own self esteem and sense of worth, all we see is what used to be or what our flaws are. Funny thing is, if we had a friend that was as hard on themselves as we become, wouldn’t we be the first to prop that friend up and show them the beauty of who they are now? I’m not just talking outer beauty either; I’m talking about the beauty that comes from within too.
Carmel was a laugh a minute from the time she entered the studio. Originally from Ireland, she moved here years ago, married and now has 2 young children. When I asked what she liked most about herself, it was her sense of humour (which became more and more obvious as the session progressed) but that she liked her weight the least.
One thing I’ve noticed about all the submissions I received; when asked what people liked most, it was a personality trait. When asked what they liked least, it was a body part (most of the time). Are we so programmed by society that we forbid ourselves to like something physical about ourselves? Does it make us seem “up our selves”, conceited or narcissistic? Or is it that we constantly measure ourselves against others and perceive ourselves to be lacking? Beauty is in the eye of the behold so it seems to me that we as a society need to get our eyes tested and re-evaluate our definition of beauty to what is more normal, not the “models” in magazines and on TV. The paparazzi jump on any celebrity that dares to leave the house without their makeup and hair done…why? Are they not normal human beings? How this is news worthy is beyond me BUT I do like that it shows us mere mortals that a lot of what we perceive as “beauty” is all smoke and mirrors. Give me a good-hearted soul to a Barbie doll any day.
Carmel, she is in her 40’s, a health manager and enjoys throwing dinner parties with loads of laughter. I can imagine that Carmel would throw a mean party and that you would leave with sore cheeks from all that smiling and sore bellies from the laughter. She also enjoys sewing and craft activities. With her daughter now 11 and in her words “that terrible time when parents are so embarrassing” , all she wanted was just one photo that she could love, so that she could remind her daughter that she is more that just a mum.
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