It is rare that I am dressed up so nicely. It is rare I receive a posed picture of myself from months past with no note attached as to indicate the event where the picture had been taken. What is not rare is my inability to recognize myself.
I opened this photo as an attachment emailed to our home from my husband’s work. There in the picture was a formal group photo. I had no clue who these people were. My initial recognition was it was a military function. This was probably a dinner or other public event because of the uniforms being worn by the military members. The background was definitely not a ship. The civilian female was attractive and dressed for a night out rather than a day on the ship. I guessed her to be a civilian due to the fact she was the only person not wearing a uniform. That is where my recognition ended. Finally, I understood this was my husband due to the email address being his from where the picture had been sent. He was smiling, maybe a proud smile. But who were the others with him. This remained a mystery.
I closed the attachment hoping to remember to ask him next time he was home from work. It did not bother me that at his arm was a pretty lady. He attends events all over the world when he is away. He has pictures of himself riding elephants in Thailand, of re-enlistment ceremonies overseas and some include various people whom I have never met. This lady though was happy. It was a nice picture to see.
I spent the day recounting where my husband had told me he was going in his fine, dress uniform. I thought, and thought and thought. It was not until hours later I remembered he had worn that particular uniform to a fancy dinner in Coronado. I noticed the other men were decorated with more medals and wore uniforms that officers wore. Maybe they were his superiors. Using a process of elimination, I recognized the other two men pictured must be his executive and commanding officers! Finally, my mystery was unraveling. The most recent dinner was when he was being congratulated for his participation in the Sailor of the Year program. Wait…I was at that dinner! I ran back to my computer and reopened that email. Why yes, I do have that dress. I had only worn it once or twice. The hair cut looked like one I had. The glasses were my new ones I had recently purchased. Wait… that was me!
It is rare for me to be dressed so nice. It is rare for me to smile and pose as I wait for my picture to be taken. But what is not rare is the disappointment only masked by humor that occurs when I find I once again was not able to recognize my appearance. Sometimes I wonder if I alter my appearance so often now so I will not be able to fault myself for the lack of recognition. I have two completely different pairs of glasses: one is a gold-rimmed pair that I wear to formal activities. This is what I am wearing in the picture above. The other is a fun, red pair that turns to sun glasses. I also wear contacts on occasion. My hair can be pulled back, left with a little curl or I straighten it other days. I do not seem to take my appearance too seriously. I know that tomorrow I may get a picture of a stranger, maybe even a beautiful lady on the arm of my husband. I am just thankful that when I do finally gain recognition of who that lady is I am usually quite pleased at her quiet beauty that I never remember I hold on to.
ADDED NOTE: I realized right before I published this post that I used “her” in the last sentence when describing myself. That is one thing I notice often. When I describe a picture of myself or see a video I am in, I describe the person pictured in third person using she or her. Yet again confirming the distance I feel from my visual recognition of myself.