There’s happy and then there’s HAPPY

Ten years ago, which was well before I lost weight, I would have described myself as a happy person. Sure, I was significantly overweight and had a few other areas of discontent, but I had friends and family to love and be loved by, a good job, a stable financial situation, and a nice (if aging) house. Lots of reasons to be happy. And yet…

I ask you, does this look like the face of a “happy” person? {rhetorical}

Cammy August 2003

This is my drivers license photo taken in late August 2003. I was closing on my new (if aging) house that day and had just learned that my drivers license had expired, and the bank wouldn’t create the sizable cashier’s check I was using as a down payment. I had just raced across town to the renewal center on a blazing hot day and waited in a long line. When it was finally my turn, the camera lady was one of those robot types who ordered me to siddownlookatthecamera-BAM! Here’s your license. No chance to compose myself or work up some semblance of a smile.

For ten years, I’ve lived with that picture in my wallet, forced to trot it out whenever a photo ID was required. While I don’t think anyone ever actually said anything about it, I did get a few pitiful looks. :) For a while after it was taken, I considered forking over another $20 and getting it redone, but for one reason or another, I never did. A bad photo doesn’t equal a bad person, so I lived with it.

Happier CammyWhat bothered me most about the bad photo was that strangers who saw this photo didn’t see the real me. They might think I was the saddest person on the planet, not someone with a bubbly personality, a sometimes sweet disposition, a joyful heart, and a great big smile.

<—- See, I was happy back then!

(The one thing that photo was good for was reminding me to show the happy.)

Fortunately, my periodic picture torture has ended. I received notice last month that my photo ID needed to be updated for my license renewal, and I needed to come in for a new photo. I didn’t care how it turned out as long as I didn’t look like a parolee in it.

2013 happy Cammy

Not a perfect photo, but it’s much more representative of how I feel and how I want to be seen by others. This is HAPPY!

How well does your drivers license photo represent who you are? Don’t you think it would be nice if we could provide our own photo?

30 thoughts on “There’s happy and then there’s HAPPY

  1. Wow! Your new photo is really good. I’ve never had a good driver’s license photo but somehow my husband’s turns out good. I love comparison photos and am doing a short blog for tomorrow showing what a twenty pound loss looks like from the backside. Yeah, I know that sounds weird. :)

  2. Your photo is positively LOVELY! And happy! I believe you when you say the woman in the photo 10 years ago was happy and in a good place, too, but everything about your new photo says deep down happy.

  3. I’m new to your blog and I love it. I have a license in my wallet right now that looks pretty much like your fist picture. I feel happy a lot, but sometimes I let my weight dictate how happy I’m going to be. I’m trying hard to work on the inside and the outside. I’ve lost 7 pounds only 60 more to go!

    • Welcome, Liz, and thank you!

      Congrats on getting past the 10% mark on your loss! You must feel great having that milestone out of the way!

    • Thanks, Jody. Tennessee will let us renew online or by mail for about 10 years, but then it’s photo time again. I guess my next time they’ll make me take a vision test. :)

  4. I’m one of those odd souls (no comment here from you…) whose past two drivers license photos have actually been good. Like you, it has to be done in July, so I look tanned, healthy and yes, very happy! Your photo is great! I’m kind of sad thinking that in a few days is when I would’ve come through Memphis for a Cammy day while on my way to Colorado. Hopefully, we can get together soon. BTW, you were right on target with your speculation that new condo is biking distance from where we last met when you came through.

    • I thought about that too, Sharon! I’m happy for your move, but it would have been great to see you. Maybe soon, especially since you live so much closer to me now. :)

  5. That 2nd one is one of the best drivers license pictures I’ve seen!!! I’m pretty sure that I have my eyes closed in mine – which is normal for me in pictures!!

    • Thanks, Kim! My eyes are usually squenched shut from smiling or they catch me mid-blink, which makes me look…well, not very bright. :)

  6. What a transformation. Great new picture Cammy!!! Proudly pull it out and present photo ID often…if if people don’t ask! HA! Have a wonderful HAPPY day!!

  7. Cammy you are looking younger. Younger than you did when we met at the Blogher conf in Chicago. Whenever that was. This new picture made me HAPPY. You are still my inspiration. This post really hit a cord with me that I have been needing. Seeing your then picture and your now picture reminded me of my own but now I have gained most of the weight back in a short 3 1/2 years and my health is reminding me to get back to healthy eating.

  8. That is a fantastic photo on your new DL! So glad for you that you finally got a good one – I recently replaced my old (face) DL and love taking it out now…it’s nice to “match” the real me, and I know you must feel the same way!

  9. I don’t think I have ever really seen your before photos and what a huge difference in your photos. And what a great DL photo to have! At least it isn’t one of the those – pull it out at a party for laughs DL picture LOL!

  10. In NJ, we are no longer permitted to smile in our driver’s license photos and I smile ALL the time, so it totally does not look like me at all!

  11. Yes, I don’t remember seeing ‘before’ pics either! You had a beautiful smile both then and now.

    My DL photo is pretty old. Its me at my thinnest weight, and with long permed curly hair. Its a good pic, but doesn’t look much like me now.

  12. I love your new photo and you look 10 years younger than you looked 10 years ago! It’s amazing how much younger people look after they lose a lot of weight. I must have had the same DMV photo person you had as my previous photo on my drivers license was dreadful. When I went in for a new one I told the person I needed a really good photo and she took her time, told me to take off my glasses to eliminate any glare and she even showed me how it was going to look! It’s the best photo of me but it’s not the worse either.

  13. What an amazing contrast! You are such a pretty woman, and I can see that in both photos, but the joy is so evident in your recent photo. I know what you mean about happy vs. HAPPY! I too am happy, but I think I will be more joyful with the excess weight gone so that I am more active and feel better about myself. I think it’s the joy that goes missing much of the time, when dragging around excess weight–at least for me.

  14. I remember my last trip to the DMV to renew my license, I doubt any of them possess any sense of humor at all. There was actually a sign by the camera that said “use a neutral expression” and the lady behind it stated, “This isn’t glamour shots honey, don’t smile” … so what came out looked like a women’s prison photo, made better by the extra pounds looking back that I conveniently ignore until a picture is taken. Your site is a gold mine and appreciate having found it.

  15. Wow! they let you smile!

    I wish the UK offices were so flexible. My issue wasn’t the expression, it was more the unfortunate combination of hair, moustache and Hawaiian shirt!
    I’ll be hitting a barbers before the next time (i hope)!

    • You gave me quite the giggle this morning, Patrick. For a minute, I thought you were talking about MY photo and I was a little offended that you would mention the moustache. :) And then I realized you were talking about YOUR photo.

      You were talking about your photo, weren’t you? :)

  16. My best every driver’s license picture was my 2nd one. When I got a new license when I got married they took a new picture. I was radiant! :) I was so disappointed when we moved to Missouri for college and they made me surrender my CA license. :(

    Now, I live in New Mexico, and due to the facial recognition software they use to detect people with fraudulent licenses, we have to have our hair pulled back, and even if you are required to wear glasses, you can’t wear them for your picture. So nobody looks good—and nobody looks like themselves!

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