Not “just” a photo

Photo ops with “the boys”

Some people have truly epic stories about how Supernatural/Jared/Jensen saved/changed their lives. My story is not one of those. My story is a small story. In many ways a trivial story. But it is a turning point in my life.

A friend and I were talking about Supernatural conventions (as we frequently do) and about photo ops in particular. As we chatted, I was flicking through my photo ops from the four Supernatural cons I’ve been to, and I noticed something. I was smiling. In all of them.

Well, I hear you saying, isn’t that what most people do? No. Not me. In fact, of the total number of photos of me in existence (which isn’t very many) there might be a couple showing me full on smiling.

Appearing in photos is something I’ve typically avoided as much as possible. The reason is simple. I don’t like the way I look. Seeing photos of myself reminds me of that. You can argue that it shouldn’t be that way, and you’re right, but that’s how it is. Compulsory school photos show me hunched up, sullenly glaring at the camera. Photos of me at family gatherings are rare, because I generally put myself behind the camera, to avoid being in pictures. There are vast chunks of my life missing from the family albums, which is sad, because photos are so very important in recording the story of our lives.

Supernatural (and J2 in particular) changed all that.

The very first Supernatural con I went to was All Hell Breaks Loose 3, in Melbourne. The photo ops from there weren’t too bad, but I’m obviously not at ease – standing stiffly, with a tight little smile. The next one, VanCon 2012, was my first with Jared and Jensen attending. Since they and their characters, are a huge chunk of why I love the show so much, I was desperate to get photo ops with them. I wanted to commemorate the fact that I’d actually been in the same room with them, so I took a deep breath and bought a J2 duo, and a solo op with each.

The convention was amazing. I was having a wonderful time – way better than I’d ever hoped, and my cheeks were sore from smiling so much, but, in the line outside the photo op room, I felt so sick with nerves I almost chickened out. The thought of being next to Jared and Jensen was nerve-wracking enough, but I was more freaked out by the idea of being in (and therefore wrecking) a photo that I’d paid so much for. It was a very bad moment for me, but as the line edged closer to the door, I watched people coming out with ENORMOUS smiles, giggling, and bubbling over with joy. I WANTED THAT FOR MYSELF. I’d paid a lot of money, I was having a great time, and I was with the Js, so DAMN IT, I would LOOK like I was happy to be there.

The strategy worked. While I still experience shaky, sweaty, stomach-churning nerves in photo op lines, once I’m there with the boys I can allow myself to get past it, and to feel and acknowledge the joy they bring to my life. Of course the fact that Chris Schmelke is the best photographer on the planet helps too.

VanCon 2014

VanCon 2014

So there you have it. It’s becoming easier for me to be in other (less nerve-wracking and less expensive) photos now, too. And I even look happy in them.

J2 did that for me.

And you know what? As insignificant as that is in the grand scheme of things, as much as it’s a first world problem, I am so damn grateful.

Categories: Supernatural, Vancouver | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Not “just” a photo

  1. Erika Callahan

    I was the same way. Hated to be in pictures. When I started to see my photo ops from BurCon last year (I got a ton of them), I didn’t worry about how fat I looked in them how prominent my broken teeth are or if my eyes are crossed; all I saw in them was view happy I was. Great big smiles broken teeth & all but I couldn’t care less. I even did something I have never done in my life; I framed them and hung them on my wall. All because of the joy I felt with my SPNFamily!

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