Angles and Lighting

There’s a meme I saw once that said something to the effect of “Are you better looking in person or in pictures? Look, I’m funny.” That’s me.

Don’t let this picture, or any picture I post on the internet fool you. I do not look like this in person. Or in a lot of my unposted pictures, actually. This is the result of lots and lots of selfie practice. I’ve learned how to utilize lighting and angles to make the most of my corporeal form.

Take this picture as an example. I was feeling very ’80s that day and decided to capture it.

I rarely use filters. Instead I prefer natural lighting. Sunlight at the right angle is so kind to me. It gives my ghastly paleness a glow that’s almost healthy. This is why most of the selfies I post on Instagram are in that one spot. The lighting tends to be perfect there.

Notice the angle. That saying, “Get my best side,” has truth to it. My left side is my best side. My face isn’t nearly as symmetrical as society requires it to be. Mostly my nose is a little crooked and it veers towards the right side of my face, leaving the left side a little more open. Also, my cheekbones are pretty fab in general, but my left one is a little more pronounced. And that head tilt? Hides any sign of double chin I sometimes seem to have. Also, for whatever reason, my smirk is left-handed. And that is my go-to facial expression. So, that’s why a majority of my selfies are of my left side with a touch of smirk.

Also, notice the slight twist in my body. Gives the illusion that I’m a bit thinner than I really am. It hides my fat arms and smooths some visible rolls. I like this better than the ultra-above angles that a lot of people do in order to make themselves look thinner.

I don’t have a full-length mirror, so I rarely post full body pictures. Not because I’m ashamed, but because I simply don’t have the tools. When I do post those, they’re usually taken at work (where the lighting is soft and mostly kind), and I still do that twist to help make my fat look the best it can.

I made this picture my Facebook profile pic and got loads of lovely comments about how pretty I am. One even said “Beautiful inside and out”, which we all know is a damn lie. But it goes to show how deceptive the smoke and mirror tricks can be.

Get me out in the real world, when I’m moving around and existing and outside a perfectly captured moment. I am not so pretty. God, get me under the fluorescents. Talk about unkind lighting. After sitting in front of the mirror for an hour while my stylist does my hair I wonder how I’m not chased by the villagers with torches and pitchforks. Laziness on their parts, I suppose.

But see, that goes to show that sometimes even I buy into my own illusion.

I’m actually pretty confident in my appearance for the most part. Most of the time I like what I see when I look in the mirror. Of course, I also know what I see in the mirror isn’t what most people see. I am rather enamored with myself.

Even when I’m not pretty like my picture.

I Colored My Hair

Kiki's red hairOkay, I didn’t color my hair myself, but I had it colored by my stylist. Yes, I have a stylist. I’m hip.
I used to color my hair often, as I’ve posted about before. But once I got my hair back to its original color some ten plus years ago, laziness set in. Though I thought about coloring my hair again, I remembered the upkeep it took and quickly dismissed taking that trip back down the rabbit hole. I also remember the damage I did to it coloring it so often. I didn’t want to fall down that rabbit hole either.

Besides, my natural color is actually quite nice and once my hair recovered from all of the damage I did to it, it only got better. Sure it’s only brown, but I’ve got some spiffy natural coppery sort of highlights in there. Hell, even the gray hair I have scattered about gives it a little something extra.

But recently I decided I wanted to put something extra in the extra.

I decided to get some chunky red lowlights put in.

I know, hardly something to blog about, but when you’re as lazy as I am, any sort of change like this is noteworthy. Besides, I feel like this is actually related to something a little bigger in my world, but this isn’t the post for that.

This is just the vanity post. See my new hair! See how pretty! See what I’ve committed myself to!

Okay, not much of a commitment since it won’t take much to grow it out and get rid of it.

But it’s still pretty.

I Don’t Cover My Gray

A jar of Manic Panic hair dye

I’ve had gray hair since I was 28. I know this because after one of my nieces spotted one the other two descended like buzzards on road kill and for fifteen minutes the three of them combed through my hair looking for more like monkeys grooming for bugs. The only found a few, but they were still there.

I suppose at 28 I should have been upset that I was already sprouting the signs of old age, but really it didn’t bug me. Until they were pointed out, I didn’t notice them. After they were pointed out, I still didn’t notice them, unless I looked for them.

I’ve accumulated more over the years, but they’re still singular, spread out here and there throughout my hair. They don’t seem to be forming any definable pattern, like a cool streak or a lightning bolt or a swirl. They’re just scattered there, like highlights.

I think that’s one of the reasons I like them (and I do like my gray hair). They are like highlights, for now. Just a little added pizzazz to my plain brown locks. Besides, I’m sure I’ve earned more than a few of them.

I know that a lot of my friends color their gray hair and good for them. They associate gray hair with looking old and they don’t want to look old (they also might have more gray hair than I do, I don’t know since they, ya know, color their hair). I can dig that. Who wants to look like a grandma when they’re still only a mom? But I already look older, so a little gray hair isn’t going to hurt me none. I’m also lazy. After spending a good part of my late teens and early 20’s coloring my hair a lot, I’m reluctant to take up the habit again. I know just how much upkeep that sort of thing requires and I just don’t feel like it right now, especially for such small flaw.

There might come a day when I change my mind. When the gray goes from highlights to full on color and I’m getting offered a senior citizen discount 15 years before I’m eligible (and I might just take them if I’m offered, you don’t know), I might decide to look a little more my age and break out the L’Oreal. Especially if the senior citizen discounts aren’t that great.

But for now I’m cool with letting my years shine.

Hairy Issues

When it comes to vanity, I have it. I’m not going to lie. I can be vain about my appearance, but I admit to being vain in a very odd way.

For example, my hair. I’m quite vain about my hair and yet I have no issues with changing styles drastically. For example, several years ago, during my third go round at college, I was ready for a big change. I’d had my hair long for years, it was driving nuts, and I’d been trying to figure out what to do with it. It just so happened that at that time a group on campus was offering haircuts for charity. 10 bucks got you whatever cut you wanted and the money went to a cause.

I took that opportunity. When it was my turn, the stylist asked me if I wanted a trim and I told her no. I told her to do whatever she wanted. After a second’s hesitation, she did. She lopped off several inches and I ended up with a cute style that was about shoulder-length.

I kept up variations of that style for several years, but recently, I decided I wanted to go for something different, something a little shorter, a little edgier. The problem with a new style for me is always how the rogue wave in my hair is going to react to it. Usually it takes me a couple of days, but I can figure out how to rock it.

Unfortunately, the rogue wave doesn’t like the new style I got and I’m having trouble working it to the point that I can at least live with it. My first gut-reaction, possibly triggered by other stressors in my life, was to cut off all of my hair and go straight pixie with it. Just say screw it and go so short the rogue wave couldn’t have anything to wave.

While this sounds like a fanstastic, easy solution, expecially since I could probably pull off a pixie cut and it would definitely be lower maintenance than what I’m doing now just to get my hair from hideous to ugly, and despite how cavalier and daring I can be when it comes to my hair, I doubt I have the guts to do it.


Because keeping some length on my hair makes me feel a little more girly.

Seem silly? It totally is, but follow me down on it anyone.

I’m not very girly. I have a very tough demeanor. I’m soft in fat rolls only. Not counting boobs and hips, there’s nothing very outwardly feminine about me. To me, having a pixie cut would just harden me up even more. I could pull it off, but it would make me even less approachable than I already am and I’m already pretty unapproachable (I know, you’d think a short, fat girl wouldn’t be intimidating, but I’ve been told over and over that there’s something about the way I carry myself that makes me seem just scary).

That’s not to say that I don’t think a pixie cut is a feminine hair style. Lots of women pull it off with their womanhood intact. I’m just saying that I am not one of those women. It would make me look like the ultimate ball buster and while I don’t mind my hardcore edge, I need something to soften it. I don’t have to be hardcore all the time and I shouldn’t look like I am.

So as much as I’d like to cut off all my hair and start all over, I won’t.

Thank goodness for my love of hats.