Incorrect Assumptions

Make-up photoPeople tell me that personal blogs are places to be completely honest and transparent, so, with some trepidation, here goes.  I have always struggled with my weight which is a very sensitive issue for me especially because of the related bullying and abuse I suffered, both as a child and into my adult years.  And living most of my life in Southern California, a place famous for an individual’s value being determined primarily by their appearance, certainly didn’t help.  We live in a society where most people instantaneously judge others based upon appearance and that tendency is so deeply ingrained in our society, that I think it has largely become a subconscious process.

I learned a valuable lesson recently and it all started when the producer of the CD I recorded last month arranged for me to spend time with a professional photographer and hair & make-up artist in order to capture a photo for the CD cover.  So I looked on-line for information about these individuals just to know with whom I would be spending the afternoon. I learned that the photographer is also a very much in-demand international male model and the hair and make-up artist is the personal hair stylist to extremely well known Hollywood actresses that I may not be at liberty to name.  Both are individuals steeped in professional fields focused on physical beauty and appearance. I also learned that I’d be showing up at the shoot without wearing the slightest shred of make-up and my hair directly from the shower without any styling effort at all.  Say what?  Who shows up to meet strangers like that, much less strangers involved in the professional modeling industry?  Having professional photos taken has always made me a little nervous, but now I was starting to panic.  It sounds completely absurd, but I imagined that people as physically beautiful as both of these individuals and who spend all of their professional hours working with other incredibly beautiful people would neither be welcoming or remotely open to working with someone who struggles with, well, “fluffiness” and is, well, quite ordinary by “Hollywood’s” standards.

I could not have been more wrong!  Michael and Bridget are two of the warmest, friendliest, most hospitable and “normal” people I’ve ever met and I had an absolute blast spending the afternoon with them.  We were only together about four hours, but in that short time I realized they are people I would be privileged to call friend and I felt truly welcomed and embraced as if I were family.  After I got home from the shoot, I slowly realized with horror, what I had done.  I was guilty of the very same wrong done to me for so many years and that I feared they also would do – judge me by my appearance.  Because of their physical beauty and the type of people with whom they spend their work hours, I made assumptions about them both that were absolutely wrong in every imaginable way.  To tell you the truth, I felt embarrassed and ashamed of myself for making those assumptions and it served as a major life lesson for me.  I had been guilty of the same wrongs I have complained about suffering from others – being judged by what I look like rather than who I am.  I was shocked to realize that I was the one making the harsh and incorrect judgments about two people I”d never even met. I’m praying the memory of that discomforting realization will continue to serve as a reminder to me, whenever I catch myself starting to entertain assumptions about others that I have no right to make.