#BeReal – I wish I hadn’t Done That


Hiding behind the lens

careful not to be seen

photographic memories

of everyone but me


It’s a terrible thing I’ve done

I can clearly see that now.

I didn’t think it mattered.

I didn’t think I was

hurting anyone.

I didn’t stop to think,

not in the moment,

not in all those


but now . . .

now I see

what I have done.


I removed myself

from memories

and nothing

can take their place.

Every picture

I cropped myself out of,

every photograph I erased,

where I should be,

there’s only empty space.




My smile wasn’t right,

one eye looked a little closed,

it was a terrible angle,

I looked awful in those clothes.


None of it even mattered.

They didn’t care

what I was wearing,

they didn’t care

if my hair was done,

they were busy

making memories,

busy having fun.

I see their smiles

in the pictures.


all of them

but one.


When memories

are all that is

left of me,

I hope they

can close their eyes

and see my face.

I hope they will

forgive me

for all the


I erased.


I’ve spent most of my life dodging cameras, bowing out of group photos, begging people to get rid of pictures I deemed unworthy to be seen, and now . . . I wish I hadn’t.

I didn’t think it mattered until one afternoon when my son was looking through some old pictures and reliving a few fond memories, he’d come across photos of a fantastically fun day we’d had and started talking about his recollections of the day, he spoke as though he were telling me all about something I’d missed.

“I know, I was there!” He looked shocked. “You were?”

It hit me. Hit me hard. I wasn’t in any of the pictures. He remembered the day because the photos reminded him, but I wasn’t in any of those photos, that part of the memory wasn’t recalled by the evidence of smiling faces in front of him. I felt shattered and guilty. I’d stolen bits and pieces of my son’s precious past by hiding from the camera.

I wish I hadn’t done that.

Not too long after that, I came across a box filled with pictures and mementos of my beautiful cousin who traveled to her place in Heaven much too soon. I sifted through the letters and postcards and pictures. Photographs of her smiling face playing with my boys, splashing in the ocean, sitting by a campfire . . . I didn’t realize I was crying until a tear splashed down next to a photo of her hugging my oldest son.

I wasn’t crying because she was gone, I was crying because she’d been here . . . with me. We’d played and laughed and hugged and had fun, but I haven’t any pictures to look back on that reflect that image of us together. I’d ducked out of every single frame.

I wish I hadn’t done that.

I met my husband shortly before my 16th birthday, we’ve made so many beautiful memories since then, but looking back through the albums of our youth, I’m absent. I cut myself out of those precious, paper pieces I’ve saved. There isn’t a single surviving picture of us from those teenage years together.

I wish I hadn’t done that.

I’ve cropped and cut and deleted myself from my own photographic history and there is nothing I can do to remedy that now, I really, truly wish I hadn’t done that.

I’m trying to make amends now. I’m trying to accept the reflection of me I see. I don’t want to be absent when my children look through our family photos someday. I want them to have pictures of me. I want them to have pictures of us. I don’t want them to wonder if I was there. I don’t want them to look back on our memories knowing I was too insecure to capture them on film.

I don’t want them to say, “I wish she hadn’t done that.”


21 thoughts on “#BeReal – I wish I hadn’t Done That

  1. This is brilliant. I do this too, very badly. & my partner says to me exactly what you’re saying here – that I am cutting myself out of the memories & also that other people want to have photos of me, even though I don’t. He is, of course, right. & this is a very poignant telling of why he is right. Hard habit to break for me, though. I have a history of anorexia and body dysmorphia. My eating disorder is very firmly in the past, but the issues with self esteem & dysmorphia are still there. I could actually, however, deal with being in pictures a bit more if people were a little more respectful of others’ privacy and boundaries, and I think that is a problem in the modern age. If pictures were just for private memories at home, as they used to be, I still would not like ones of me but could probably live with them being there. But I don’t want to have loads of pictures online, etc, and I don’t want to have to keep seeing them appearing in feeds and on social media. But I find a lot of people are not so good about respecting when people don’t want to be plastered over facebook, so it is easier not to be in pictures, as then people can’t be posting them for me!


  2. Oh my. This is me, too. What a wake up call. I’m trying with all my might to leave my children pieces of me through my words, but I’m hardly in any photos for the same reasons you describe. This is a stunning post that is going to have ripple effects from all those that are fortunate to read it. I’m soooo glad I stopped by today. I love your writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh my. This is me, too. What a wake up call. I’m trying with all my might to leave my children pieces of me through my words, but I’m hardly in any photos for the same reasons you describe. This is a stunning post that is going to have ripple effects from all those that are fortunate to read it. I’m soooo glad I stopped by today. I love your writinng.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. *HUGE HUGE HUGS* to you, darling, because I, too, hate myself on camera, especially at family events (where it’s unavoidable) but I had never thought of this. Not that I’ll have kids to miss me from pictures, but I’d like Niece and Neff to know I was there.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My sister is a lot like you. Every Christmas I make a photo book of the previous Christmas to give to my mom. She is never in a single photo. I m so glad you realized it now so start over today. Be front and center in every photo. You will be so grateful you did. Beautiful post my friend

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: The Qwiet Muse’s… | Live Love Laugh

  7. Such a painful post! Mostly because I know how you feel. It isn’t that I don’t have photos. I do because my father and my husband (and other family members) have relentlessly taken photos over the years. I just didn’t like most of them (with me in them). Always something wrong. Not what I wanted to see. Now, looking back, I sometimes see the way you now want to see–that I was there and part of the action. Even though I’m squinting or blinking or don’t like what I see in my face or about my body. The poem is beautiful. A picture in itself of you.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I need to show this to Kevin! He HATES the camera. The only good this I think I did was I made a deal with him when we first got together. He agreed to give me family photos every year at Christmas with full and cheerful cooperation and I agreed to never point a camera in his direction otherwise. (I made NO promises about other people so we do have candid pics of Kev). Oh and btw you are GORGEOUS my friend beautiful in more than just spirit and heart even though you don’t see it when you look it the mirror I promise it is there

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, sweet Stephanie 🙂 I love your family photos, Dan is the same way, I have no idea why . . . He’ll consent to family photos, but i have to sneak the others sometimes!


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