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May 28, 2012
Life on Planet Kathy
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

Copyright © 2021 by Kathryn H. Kidd Printed from