Thursday, May 15, 2008

Most Important, How's My Hair Look? -or- My Very Unflattering Photographic Portfolio

On Saturday I speak on unschooling at a new homeschooling conference. I've been surpisingly calm about it; usually by now I'm breathing into a paper bag and jumping out of my skin, causing Rob to mutter, "WHY do you say yes to these things?!?" while I spit, "YOU AREN'T HELPING!" back at him. But not this time. It helps, in a way, that I learned there are fewer registrations for the conference than expected, so in some ways it will be more like a conversation than a presentation. I'm disappointed for the organizers, of course, but a bit relieved that I don't have to practice projecting my voice, which, in my oh-so-organized way, is scheduled for somewhere between mopping the nervous sweat from my armpits and gasping, "ohmygoddess people are coming into the room".

But today I got a phone call that makes me nervous to the core of my being. The Register Star, the main newspaper of our nearby city of 200,000, called to arrange a photo shoot. I know!

I was interviewed for an article on eating organic food and now they'd like to take some photographs of my garden, or of me cooking with organic foods, or of me shopping for organic foods. "Ok," says me, followed by "Would you be interested in some stock footage from about 10 years ago? Say, when I had smoother skin, thinner thighs, and gray-free hair?" Question: can someone please tell me why don't I have a plastic surgeon on speed dial, hmmm?!

See, here's the thing. They also want to shoot a VIDEO. V-I-D-E-O. For their new online sister publication. They want to set up this whole thing in the aisles of my favorite produce market and interview me about organic foods and watch me shop. Which will likely be about as interesting as watching toenails grow, but hopefully a tad bit more informational. Unless you've got some weird foot fetish. And if you do, ew, and keep it to yourself. (Sorry, I digress. I digress a lot when I'm nervous.) It will definitely be entertaining for the stateline viewers, in that dude-does-her-left-eyelid-always-twitch-like-that sort of way. And for me? Well, let's just say I might have to sell my house and start anew in a faraway land. Yes, I will go to such lengths to avoid watching myself on video.

Am I overreacting just a bit? Probably. But seriously, people, the idea of watching video footage of myself, footage I will have no editing control over whatsoever, is d*mn close to my idea of hell - a twisted mix of anticipation and dread, hopeful maybe-this-time-I'll-look-fine and or-maybe-not. I'm the person who, after getting photographed by news people, actually begs to see it and then begs them to retake it if I'm not satisfied. And have you ever noticed how **CLOSE** they get when they photograph or tape you? Once I was interviewed after a war protest. Naturally, I hadn't washed my hair that day, and it was cold and windy, being March and all, and I remember fretting about how I'd look on the nightly news, forgetting all about the rush to war and why we'd gathered in the first place.

(Note to self: check for protruding nose hairs)

And really, it's not about me. It's about the organic food movement. So why am I tripping out? Because I'm a wicked critic when it comes to seeing myself in print, that's why. Maybe I should send a stunt double. Anyone? Anyone?

I don't know about you, but I'm a peaks-and-valleys kinda grrrl. I never know from day to day if my skin is going to be clear or blemished; if my hair is going to be straight or wavy; or if I'll manage to have on my game face or not. Even my handwriting is unpredictable; some days I have lovely handwriting, others days it's a scribbly, indescipherable mess. But more important than my handwriting is this: some days I'm photogenic, and some days I'm really, super, very much NOT.

So what, dear readers, if, on the day of "the shoot," I've got my double-chin going on?

Double? Yo, that's like a quadruple!

Or what if, in my nervous state, I can't get my face to stop doing this?

You remember what your mom used to say... "if you keep doing that, your face just might stay that way"... ohdearlord...

More critical questions: Should I wear my hair up?

Egads, no. Or how about a hat?

Nah, too HeeHaw.

Perhaps I could put on a "pensive" look, to mask my inner terror:

But that would require some measure of calm. And is it just me or does my pensive look scream deer caught in headlights...

I could always resort to drinking beforehand, to loosen up:

But then I might risk overindulging. Next thing you know, it wouldn't be Diane I had in a head-lock, but the camera man:

If only I could give them a stock photo. I could use this one, taken by the head-shot photographer at our community theatre when he was teaching ME how to shoot them:
But I guess that one would work better on the cover of my book. That one I'm writing. You know, the one I haven't worked on in, like, 9 months.

Alright, this calls for reinforcements. I'll need a hair colorist, facialist, and a liposuctionist, STAT. I'll need wardrobe options and my own dresser, a nail techinician onsite for touch-ups, and plenty of valium. Oh, and some of those carnival mirrors would be great - the ones that make you look ultra-skinny. Do zits show up on film?

And then I remembered, I know people who know people. And those people have people. And maybe those people's people would be my people and what was I saying?

For fashion advice, I choose Lily:

Hey Sistah, help a grrrl out, yo?

And Lily, in her infinite wisdom, says go with this:

And when Lily speaks, I listen. Any other advice, Lily, wee goddess of fashion?

"HELLO, shoes?!?"

As my dad used to say when playing euchre, "Go big or go home."

Whaddya think - does it say "Organic-Eatin' Mama?" or what?


K. said...

Oh stop it, you gorgeous and clever thing, you. You're going to be fine.

Well, I for one can't WAIT to see the video. I expect to see you dancing down those aisles, and ending with something magnificent - can you do a back flip?

denise said...

What a great topic. That is great you get to chat about that.

We have been in the paper here a few times over the past year (for a local mom website I run, and then for my blog) and each time they send out a staff photographer I about pass out. With my own photos I can photoshop them to feel 'ok' with them, but the staff photo people just take the picture and that is that! I always think, ok, if I hide behind the kid here, not be the focus, remember it will be small, no biggie. The second time, I opened the paper and the photo of us was literally almost 1/2 the page - HUGE! squeak. The good thing about newspaper, is that it is low resolution, it is on newsprint, and it is not the best quality overall, so it doesn't look so bad.

Now, the video interview????...Here is a paper bag...

And I'm sure you will be awesome for the conference AND the interview.

Maria said...

If you know people who know people do they know Photoshop? But I am getting ahead of myself. I think you look GREAT altho, personally, I think I'd not go the "beer" route if you're talking about organics. I, for one, and incredibly jealous you have what it takes (chutzpah) to speak about unschooling at a conference, write and article, be photographed and interviewed (even if you are hyperventilating) and speak about ORGANIC FOOD. INCREDIBLE. oh, and the writing of a book, even if you haven't touched it in awhile. Do you think authors just sit down and write a book in a year??!! Oh.Wait. Don't answer that. Not authors who are as busy and multi talented as you there is my "Laura you can SO do this..." Organic, crunchy, whole foodie, granola types are supposed to eschew corporeal things like how they look anyway...and I am in collusion with the whole idea of playing it BIG.

You know, not to hi jack but your post reminded me of one of my own...pardon the HUGE link...

Mrs. G. said...

You know in that pensive photo you look so much like one of my favorite actresses Amy Ryan.

You have good hair plain and simple. Just be yourself-yeah, I know a cliche-but it's true.

Beverly said...

I vote no hat and no beer. Otherwise, all is good; you look great!

Chris said...

You are going to do GREAT, with both the conference and the video! I just know it! :O) You are so pretty, no matter what you wear (or how you do your hair), you can't go wrong! Can I see the video when it is done, pretty please?!?


Heather said...

I know that all must be nerve wrecking. At least you are someone who gets asked to do stuff and you do say yes. We got asked to be on wife swap and I said no. I am no fool! I am not near as pretty as you or smart, I am sure. LOL. You'll do great!

debra said...

Just breathe (as my daughters say to me when I am out there nervous). You WILL be fine And the red shoes are way cool. :-) have fun!

whimsigal said...

First of all, you do NOT have extra chins, for goodness sake. Sheesh. You're gorgeous.

Second, you'll be fabulous both at the speaking event and doing your organic food video. We are all our own worst critics! You're going to have fun and impress people. Of that I have no doubts!

Linda said...

Ha ha! Yeah, I am speaking at a conference coming up too, and although I am not panicked yet I am pretty sure it will set in about an hour before I'm supposed to speak. It'll go something like this: "Who am I to think that anybody should be interested in what I have to say? Who am I to think that what I have to say is interesting? Who am I to think anyone will care about my stories? I should have done more research. What if I forget to say all the important things I want to say? What if I start babbling? What if my voice starts shaking?" Etc.

Anyway, I know we all have our hangups about our physical selves and I don't want to be dismissive of your feelings and I really don't like to make comparisons (which complimenting someone always implies) BUT I am going to anyway because really you just have to stop this nonsense about your looks. Even with the quadruple chin and wrinkles you are uncommonly beautiful, and you rock the grey hair. You are the type who other people are jealous of even when you have bedhead. So really, there are probably things much more deserving of your being stressed out about them.

Silvia said...

I just want to know if you wore a denim jumper. :) Then nobody would be looking at your hair. LOL

piscesgrrl said...

k. - I used to be able to do a back flip - several in fact! It's that cheerleader thing again though... I think you're attracted to my past life as a cheerleader. C'mon, admit it.

denise - I'm glad you know my panic! I guess we're always our own worst critics.

Maria - appreciate you sharing your post! thx for the chin up!

mrs. g. - you know I'm off to google this Ryan grrrl now.

beverly - thx! And agreed.

chris - ya, I'll let y'all see it. we can all dissect it together!

heather - not so fast, missy. I happen to think you're intelligent and right purty too!

debra - I do forget to breathe. I needed that reminder today!

whimsigal - thx grrrl.

linda - where are you speaking? Do tell! and thx for the compliments, but you haven't seen me with bedhead. 'Tain't pretty is all I'm gonna say.

Thanks to everyone for the kind words - I'm definitely coming back to this comment section whenever I need a pick-me-up!