"We seldom get into trouble when we speak softly. It is only when we raise our voices that the sparks fly and tiny molehills become great mountains of contention."
- - Gordon B. Hinckley
May 28, 2012
Facial Recognition
by Kathryn H. Kidd

Our most recent trip to the temple was a little bit depressing. Not one, but two strangers recognized me from my picture on Meridian Magazine and came up and introduced themselves to me. I don't mind people coming up and introducing themselves to me -- that wasn't the problem. The depressing part was that they recognized me from my picture on Meridian.

My picture on Meridian is so vile that I considered quitting my weekly column just so that picture would never be seen again. It shows a person whose face is rounder than it is long -- a beady-eyed, snaggle-toothed, yellow-fanged Jabba the Hutt. The picture was taken by someone who promised me that he could take pictures of me that even I would like. He was wrong. When I saw the pictures, I cried.

Fluffy, ever the helpful husband, tried to console me. "Those are great pictures!" he said. "They look just like you!"

This was not something that was destined to make me feel better about myself.

I wasn't born ugly. My mother used to say that a talent scout in one of New Orleans' snooty clothing stores wanted to hire me as a model when I was three or four. But I soon grew out of that. In high school, I looked like a forty-year-old. By the time I reached college, I had learned how to take care of myself and I looked pretty good. (The boys at BYU didn't agree. I was a size nine in a size 2 community. They treated me as though I was a circus elephant.)

After college I was average. I didn't think much about my looks. It was when I was 32 that I made the downhill slide almost overnight, gaining 140 pounds during a six-month period in 1982. The bottom line is, one day I was a person, and the next day I wasn't a person anymore.

The world has never let me forget how ugly I look. People who would never even think about saying a harsh word about any other physical disability feel a personal obligation to tell me I do not pass their personal beauty requirements. Gee, thanks. Don't you think I'm smart enough to figure it out for myself?

I know that looking the way I do is something that is absolutely necessary for my spiritual progress. That doesn't mean I have to like it, any more than a person likes trips to the dentist or emergency surgery. In fact, I'm not supposed to like it. At one point I prayed fervently that if I had to look the way I do, at least I wanted the gift of not minding how I look. I have a large sister, and she is completely carefree about her size. Couldn't I at least have that?

The answer I got then was a resounding no. At least in my situation, the shame and the humiliation are part of the package. Bummer.

So there I am, being seen in pictures that look just like me. Pictures that show a beady-eyed, round-faced cherub with an old person's teeth. Even after I fixed the teeth, I still look like Kathy. People still recognize me from my pictures. Feel free to weep for me. I know I do.

This will not always be the case, however. When I die, I am going to steal Ingrid Bergman's 24-year-old body. Either that, or Candice Bergen at forty. Or even Heidi Klum from about 2008 (if she wasn't pregnant in 2008 -- I don't want the pregnancy). My husband Fluffy really has a thing for Heidi.

Friends, be warned. If in the next life you have a celebrity sighting of Ingrid Bergman or Candice Bergen or Heidi Klum, and she runs over to embrace you even before you've had time to pull out your celestial Nikon Coolpix, do not fear. It is I. At that point, you can take pictures of me to your heart's content. In fact, I may be posing even if you don't bring your camera

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About Kathryn H. Kidd

Kathryn H. Kidd has been writing fiction, nonfiction, and "anything for money" longer than most of her readers have even been alive. She has something to say on every topic, and the possibility that her opinions may be dead wrong has never stopped her from expressing them at every opportunity.

A native of New Orleans, Kathy grew up in Mandeville, Louisiana. She attended Brigham Young University as a generic Protestant, having left the Episcopal Church when she was eight because that church didn't believe what she did. She joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a BYU junior, finally overcoming her natural stubbornness because she wanted a patriarchal blessing and couldn't get one unless she was a member of the Church. She was baptized on a Saturday and received her patriarchal blessing two days later.

She married Clark L. Kidd, who appears in her columns as "Fluffy," more than thirty-five years ago. They are the authors of numerous LDS-related books, the most popular of which is A Convert's Guide to Mormon Life.

A former managing editor for Meridian Magazine, Kathy moderated a weekly column ("Circle of Sisters") for Meridian until she was derailed by illness in December of 2012. However, her biggest claim to fame is that she co-authored Lovelock with Orson Scott Card. Lovelock has been translated into Spanish and Polish, which would be a little more gratifying than it actually is if Kathy had been referred to by her real name and not "Kathryn Kerr" on the cover of the Polish version.

Kathy has her own website, www.planetkathy.com, where she hopes to get back to writing a weekday blog once she recovers from being dysfunctional. Her entries recount her adventures and misadventures with Fluffy, who heroically allows himself to be used as fodder for her columns at every possible opportunity.

Kathy spent seven years as a teacher of the Young Women in her ward, until she was recently released. She has not yet gotten used to interacting with the adults, and suspects it may take another seven years. A long-time home teacher with her husband, Clark, they have home taught the same family since 1988. The two of them have been temple workers since 1995, serving in the Washington D.C. Temple.

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