So, once more for good measure, here’s the photo. If it hadn’t been a long and taxing day at work I’d have drawn it better, I promise:

I love this photo. I love love love this photo. I was gushing about it over the weekend, and I heard myself telling Niles, “I don’t even like how I look in it, but I love that photo.”

But what am I thinking? This photo is of me at near-happiness-capacity, right here. I am seriously beaming with happy here. I look like a 6 year old who just met an astronaut or a fireman or someone dressed like Spider-man or something. How can I not like how I look?

But I know why, it’s because photos are tricky, they are mean, they capture a single instant when your hair might look flat, or your neck stumpy and nonexistent. And they sit there, in all their static, frozen glory, and give you ample time to detect and analyze every stupid flaw. And I am extremely skilled at finding those flaws, having spent many years in training. I look at this photo and I can find a hundred things wrong with how I look in it, without even TRYING.

Or, maybe I can just see how happy I look here. Amazingly, deliriously happy; having a great time, meeting some amazing, talented, magnificent people, surrounded by amazing artwork, and the awesome people who like amazing artwork. I know my instinct is to criticize my appearance in this photo, but maybe I can make a choice. Maybe I can choose just to see how happy I am, and nothing else.

Ugh, also: I lied about being able to bike this week. The forecast is suddenly nothing but ice and sleet and rain and snow. Boo!