Please excuse my vanity.

I tell you all frequently that it’s “the angle” or “good lighting” when it comes to my photos and sometimes, that’s true.

And sometimes, it’s the finish on a photo that makes me feel bold enough to share with you.

Reality to fantasy.  All in a matter of moments.

They may look like 9 identical pics to you, but there is only 1 I would want you to see and it’s not the original [in the upper-left corner].

I am frequently ashamed I’m not willing to be more honest with you about my shape and I worry that I am perpetuating a stereotype when I am as real as you are.

The truth is, I feel like a lion even though I may only be a mouse, and though reality is somewhat different from what I perpetuate, I am lucky enough to see myself through others’ eyes, and I believe.

I believe they find me beautiful and — like magic — I am.

Somehow, that’s all I ever needed to do to be released from insecurity: trust.

So, please, forgive me my vanity and my altered images.Β  It’s how I like to picture myself.

Sinful Sunday

93 thoughts on “Please excuse my vanity.

  1. Believe it or not, we all have doubts about our bodies! I for one have horrendous self-image due to 30 years of being the “ugly best friend” and the one that was chatted up purely so the pretty girl could get my friend by himself.

    But thanks to a few very special friends I’m starting to think I’m not as bad as I once did, this Sinful Sunday feature is also helping me a LOT with my self image πŸ™‚

    So I will be honest and candid and tell you that a) you have an awesome ass, b) you look incredible in ALL your pics and c) you’re gorgeous πŸ™‚

    • Thanks for sharing, Scot (is that what I should call you?). I find it hard to believe you were the “ugly best friend” for 30 years. Your shape is outstanding and you are – clearly – an interesting, creative fellow.

      I’m not exaggerating when I say I’d climb all over you and run my fingers through your hair for hours if you let me. You’re one hot man. Thinking of you in a kilt nearly kills me.

      I’m glad you have a few special friends to help turn your mind around. All you have to do is believe they know what they like and go from there. It’s the trick that’s turned my life around and improved my self-esteem a thousand fold.

      And posting nudie pics of myself to random strangers who lavish praise also doesn’t hurt πŸ˜‰

      • My shape ISN’T outstanding, shadows cover a lot of bits that I don’t want shown! πŸ™‚ the creative bit is more a recent development, over the last 5 years I’ve been playing about with cameras and it’s helped a lot.

        I also don’t have hair on my head :p lol

        Thank you so very much though :);):)

        • I was talking about the hair on your body haha πŸ˜‰

          it doesn’t matter if YOU think your shape is outstanding, only that you BELIEVE ME when i say it and trust that I know what I find attractive. Our tastes in a man’s body may differ, after all And I *really* like yours. πŸ˜‰

          Lastly, bald men are h o t! xx Hy

  2. I’ll gleefully take any of the nine!
    I was once a true hottie, trim and with a really full head of hair. The past few years, for various reasons, both the buff bod and the hair have fled. The hottie inside remains though.
    And, after all isn’t it the hottie inside that counts?
    Just for the record though, I will add my voice to the chorus of “damn, girl! You are sexy as hell!”

  3. I was sooo worried after only having my ex-husband seeing my nakedness for 14 years, what someone else would think of
    my child-bearing stretchmarks. After all, he saw the child come out, so he was apart of the process- but a new person? Would they think me just as vixen? He used to tell me “you have cleopatra hotness”…. I carry that inside to this day. And I’ve never had one person make a derogatory comment or be turned off when I am bare infront of them- quite the opposite. 22-40 year old lovers, the response has been the same, rock hard. I don’t see one stretch mark on your torso. You got away easy in my book, lol. So rock
    on with that crazy hot body. Don’t you ever feel less than perfection!

    • Kat, what a wonderful story and a wonderful thing to hear from a partner! My exhusband never remarked on my looks and so after 7 years my self-esteem was pretty battered, stretch marks or not (incidentally all mine are in my breasts, but you’re right, my body escaped most traces of a pregnancy).

      It took daring a legion of men to realize I was beautiful because, like you, no one ever cringed when they saw me naked and I dated many men out of my league, too. It was then I taught myself to believe that they knew what they were doing.

      I guess my ex also helped in that somewhat. He used to get furious with me when I’d scoff at the rare compliment.

      Lessons learned! xx Hy

      • Oh and -PS…There is absolutely nothing wrong with posting the most flattering art to support your story thread. That is an element used in journalism that draws in readers and makes the peice more likely to be read. However there is a difference between photography and a photo illistration. After a photo has had so much done, its then an illistration. Jounalists get around
        it by simply stating so in the credit line.

        You own this creative process and ultimately have no one to answer
        to. If you decided to give yourself purple nipples in all your photos, I’m sure you audience would understand that they are not real and only used for expression by the artist. What I’m trying to say is….this is yours, do what you want! Hope I make sense….lol.

        • Thank you so much for this note, Kat. It makes me feel a lot better about it, actually. And you’re right, I choose my images carefully. Sometimes they support the story closely and sometimes they’re just for fun, but regardless, they’re deliberate, as are what they express.

  4. I like the honesty of these photos here. It’s interesting to see all the variations and how they affect the outcome. One thing remains constant – your beautiful shape and willingness to share of yourself. That is the truth in all of these images.

    LadyP x

    • Thank you, Lady P. It’s a view I rarely share and so thought it would make my point the best. I wish I could’ve included how long it took me to get that pose right, too, because that “shape” took me a minute to figure out! Maybe next time! πŸ™‚

  5. I know that many of us, maybe all, have body issues and we portray ourselves the way we feel the most comfortable with. I do not alter my photos, but I have blogged about my body issues frequently. Just do what you feel comfortable with and maybe you will grow towards posting unaltered photos πŸ™‚

    Rebel xox

    • I post lots of unaltered photos, too, BUT, they meet my standards of how I hope I really look to others. It’s a tricky thing to get over, I’m realizing. Maybe one day I’ll get where you are πŸ™‚

  6. I used to suffer a lot from body image issues, but experimenting with exhibitionism and having a boyfriend who loves to make me feel sexy has helped a lot. I really do think you look sexy in all of your photos. I’m glad that you were able to share the original. Hopefully seeing everyone’s comments will improve your confidence πŸ™‚

    • Thanks for your note, Solitudinarian, and the kind words. I mostly feel pretty confident around here (my Internet Boyfriend has always been ridiculously supportive of me). I just worry sometimes that I’m portraying a false image to my readers. Or maybe I’m not since that’s how I really feel? It’s tricky :).

      I’m happy that you’re feeling better about your body, though! It’s a real gift. xx Hy

  7. I think we all have body image issues to work through and parts of us we’d rather not share. I know I’m definitely guilty on that count!

    ~Kazi xxx

  8. Thank you for this I have been having the same issue accept I don’t change the image other than putting a filter on but sometimes it is not enough and I chicken out, and I too feel like I have let the cause of a better body image down. But don’t worry we are all in it together and the more of us that do stuff like this the more support there is for a better future and feeling better about ourselves. Shameful fist pump!
    I think you were very brave for doing this when you feel how you do, well done!
    Hugs x

    • Thanks, Saint1ess! I don’t use Photoshop or anything, just pic filters like you mentioned, but I can manipulate lighting, grain, sharpness and the like.

      Typically, I don’t because I keep to poses that are most flattering, but for a view like this one (one I never do) I would never submit the raw one. *sigh*

      I’m working in it! Thanks for your support and kind words! xx Hy

  9. We believe you’re so beautiful…so you are.

    For me, it’s the angle of my body paired with the angle of the camera. And yes, for those few moments after I post a part of myself, I feel beautiful because others find me beautiful. I try to carry that feeling with me…it’s harder than it should be.

    For the record, I love your ass as much as I love your boobs. πŸ™‚

  10. I think everyone has issues with the way they look at some point in their life. I certainly have in the past but beauty is in the eye of the beholder and this is beautiful πŸ™‚

  11. All these images are worthy of showing off, but I completely understand what you mean. Whether it be the lighting or the finish, I like my pictures to be the most flattering for me and anyone to enjoy. There is no shame in these adjustments!
    One thing is for sure, they are all 100% you and show of your gorgeous figure.
    Mia x

  12. We all have body issues or have had body issues, my love. I am intimately aquainted with them myself. You’re beautiful, babe. Inside and out.

    Xoxo

  13. I absolutely completely get what you are saying here. I want to be honest and truthful with my photography and yet I have bit of my body that I would rather not show off… my stomach is probably the main one. I go to great length to only edit my images in very subtle ways, adjusting the lighting or colour content. I refuse to not indulge in any hard ‘photoshop’ style editing.

    I think learning to see ourselves as others see us is something lots of people find challenging. I hope that Sinful Sunday has managed to help create a positive environment to share self images that help people with this. I know blogging has been a very positive force in my life as far as this is concerned

    Mollyxxx

    • I agree completely. I don’t Photoshop anything, just tweak lighting, use filters, etc. it’s such an interesting challenge and I had no idea so many other bloggers felt the same way I do.

      Sinful Sunday — I’m certain — has helped open the door to self acceptance for many. xx Hy

  14. I love them all together; it’s a beautiful collage! I also don’t think there’s anything wrong with picking poses or lighting etc. that make you feel sexiest, and I think most people do that, myself included. πŸ™‚
    xxPenny

    • Thank you so much! I suppose you’re right that we do all prefer the more flattering images of ourselves, but I worry that I’m not being totally honest. After all, I don’t go around posing all day long! haha

  15. Thank you so much for your honesty – in your images here, yes, but mostly in your thoughts! I think you are beautiful and I completely share your “sometimes-self-consciousness” – Lovely photos, ALL of them!!

  16. Girlfriend, you are preaching to the choir! I’m older and curvy, so I totally understand. My trick – learning the camera settings so you don’t need to edit. Oh, and NEVER use a flash. Flashes create more hail damage on thighs than is actually present.

  17. We all feel that way. I know there are times when I look at my scars and lymphedema and awkwardness and think no one would ever find me attractive but usually in those times I think, feck it…I should go show off somewhere. Those who think you are hot will come when you fake confidence until you make confidence πŸ™‚

    I think you look lovely btw πŸ™‚

  18. Dear Hyacinth,

    As I read your words, I found myself nodding more & more. I can completely identify with everything you’ve said. And so many times I’ve actually wanted to write these words as eloquently as you have.

    My theory is, yes, I’m a very fat girl, I mean for goodness sake I chose a pseudonym to reflect that. I make no bones about how large I am. And have now starting taking much more revealing images of myself, changing them to B&W & posting them. For me, those images ARE all about the way I angle myself. But, why shouldn’t we post images that we’ve tweaked a little with filters etc. Every image I take, is taken on my mobile phone & edited on my phone. So, these only go as far as filters. They aren’t miracle workers.

    My beau actually bought me my first photoshop for Christmas. I installed it on my laptop, twice I played with it and in all honesty, I hated it. I’ve now subsequently uninstalled it. He also bought me a Nikon D3100 as my passion for photography runs deep, but do you know what? I still prefer taking images of ME on my phone. Sad, huh πŸ˜‰

    I actually take a lot of strength from your SinfulSunday post. In essence I take these images & tweak them for me and maybe a little narcissistically, I do like to look at them after. I won’t be this age forever..

    Thankyou, for posting this & thus allowing people to voice their support & appreciation of the same mindset.

    And apologies for the uber long comment!

    Pea ~x~

    • Oh my goodness, please don’t apologize! Comments can be as long as you like!

      I have a friend who, like you, was gifted the fancy stuff. After a while she finally admitted to herself she preferred the ease of the phone (the image quality is outstanding with the apps she uses) for everything, even images of frozen ponds at dawn. We gotta do whatever feels most natural, right?

      I’ve wanted to do a post about this for weeks now, but I had no idea so many would feel the same as me. What a nice surprise and thank you for sharing your thoughts on this, Pea. I really want to be as real as I can be here! xx Hy

  19. Another one nodding in agreement here…Instagram-like filters have definitely been my friend I think.
    I personally think you have a gorgeous “in-and-out” shape – very desirable!

    • Thanks, Kinky shoes! I should have included the 5 or 6 outtakes it took to get this pose, too! It wasn’t easy, though I’ll admit when I saw it I was shocked to see I had that look I’ve found so sexy on others. It really and truly is all smoke and mirrors πŸ˜‰

  20. Really interesting. Great to see all the different shots. There is a lot to say for the fact that some of the edited shots just make better photographs, not because they change how your body looks, but because they change the light and contrast, and sometimes that’s what makes a photograph interesting.

  21. I think everyone has a body issues of one type or another, a good side, or a bad one. For the record I think all the shots are lovely but given a choice would choose the original. It’s not meant as false flattery but its because that’s the shape and body type I tend toward naturally.

  22. Hy, I’m the least photogenic man in cyberspace. Although I don’t alter my photos, I throw 99 out for every 1 I keep. I abhor those candid shots with friends that end up on Facebook. I don’t get to select them.
    You’re not alone.

      • Yes, Sofia is very beautiful. the post I’ll put up in about 5 minutes shows some of her. No one is perfect though, and even super models take unflattering pictures. I have a pretty good eye though for choosing angles and such to get the best of her. I toss out much fewer pics of her than I do of myself. She and I are on the same page though, because she’s come to trust my judgment.

  23. What you said in this post IS what your blog has taught me. Your own love of loving with your body IS what sexiness has always felt like to me, and so, your whole posts over the year I have been reading have made that crystal clear. ( I know the negative thoughts will surface but I am confident I can squash them when I need to – loving to love does that! )

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