Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

Here is what I looked like after seven hours at a photo studio and on-site shooting.  I showed this photo to my mom, and for a second, she thought it was someone else:

Kind of scary-looking, actually.

In comparison, here's regular ol' me (photo is a few years old, but basically I look the same... thank you, sunscreen):

When "The Ukrainian" and I decided we wanted to take formal engagement shots, I jokingly told him that we need to spend as much money as possible to work on this impossible case <-- i.e., me.

It was kind of a no-brainer for us to invest more in an engagement photographer than a wedding one.  The plan for the ceremony/reception is to take simple photos with those who attend and forget about specific arrangements, poses, or whatnot.  So doing a pre-photo shoot was intended to be relaxed but still formal.  Plus, these Taiwanese-style formal shoots are pretty common in this neck of the woods (even if I'm not at all Taiwanese).

I've probably mentioned this before, but I've grown up believing that I did not luck out in the gene pool, if you know what I mean.  Growing up among girls -- even the ones in school, I never found myself to be strong, smart, skinny, or pretty enough to be worthy of things, and it's not like Asian parenting includes building up children's self-esteem.  As I got older, I kind of started to roll my eyes every time someone made an off-handed comment about me, someone else, or even a celebrity, such as, "Oh, she got bigger" or "Something is wrong with her nose."  I mean, really?!  Don't we have bigger fish to fry?!!  Yet I would somehow take it personally and spent much of my existence fervently chasing goals -- believing I had to master that guitar, finish marathon upon marathon, graduate college in three years with top honors, get a high-roller job, and yes, even get a Ph.D -- just in order to feel on par with everyone else, believing that ugly girls gotta hustle, ya know?!  <-- stupidest thing ever  My friends have been calling me out this for more than a decade, but I'm finally owning up to it.  And yes, it's freaking ridiculous.  A work in progress.

In particular, my insecurities have risen since I got engaged (alluded to here).  Sometimes, it's all just a freaking comparison, and although upsetting, I eventually told myself that if I'm old enough to freaking get married, then I'm old enough to get over "the way things are."

Anyway......... whether I look like me or not, I sure did have fun:

{not my dress} I purposefully chose a picture that isn't all that identifying.  More may come later...

Our photographer and make-up artist were obviously very skilled -- money well spent (actually not nearly as much dinero as I had feared).  And most of all, in spite of societal pressures, I still think that looks are a stupid thing to use to judge people, and the fight to be more than just a shell continues.

The day of our shoot was one of the best I've ever had.  As I was riding in back of a golf cart to get to our shooting location, kids on a field trip were gasping and asking things like, "Whyyyy are they getting married?" "Whyyyy is there a princess?"  Adults were smiling at us.  I was totally the center of attention, and not in a negative way.  People in life often point out a lot of the things we do wrong -- that I have bad taste, don't [insert profanity here] conform, or fit in... or whatever.  But I could do no wrong that day.  Be still, my ego.

As much as I don't want to admit it, I've always wanted my "princess moment."  Finally.  You can sue me (well, not really... although in this country all damages above, what, $20? can be sued over, but let's end this random un-factoid) for wanting one... because I normally feel like a lump of coal.  Knowing that this day was about us and not having to worry about judgment, I could not stop thinking about the experience, even if I had to stand in sometimes uncomfortable and awkward positions.

I cannot thank the entire studio staff enough for their attentiveness and skill. <3  Now I feel like the pressure is off.  Thanks to all who have left nice comments and insights in my previous wedding posts.  It has been a nerve-wrecking, thoughtful, exciting, busy, yet sometimes lonely time.


  1. Expectations and social pressures aside, you do look like a princess - and more importantly, you both look like you're having a blast in that picture. Glad it was such a great day!

  2. I'm so glad you had a good experience and got to have that princess moment. Beautiful!