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Monica Bielanko
A chronicle since 2005 of my marriage & move to Brooklyn in my twenties; becoming a mother in my thirties; moving to Pennsylvania and learning to amicably coparent after divorce in my forties while living 3 doors down from my ex-husband in a small country town.
That's What She Said
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Tuesday
Apr252006

Self Portrait


JUST WOKE UP... NO PHOTOSHOP.. YIKES.

I am more honest in this blog than I am in person. In person I feel obligated to shuffle around within the confines of 'normal'. I engage in breezy banter and aside from the odd lash out - mostly at family members - try not to rock the boat.

In this blog, for better or worse, I am me.. I post pictures of myself that are real. Usually taken by me, The Surge or if I'm lucky a girlfriend who knows how to aim in just the right way so's I don't look like a fatty. Oh Monica! You're not fat, just digging for compliments. Shut up. Of course I wouldn't post a photo that makes me look fat. I probably should if I want this blog to accurately reflect me. Just yank up my skirt and document the ass cheese that's slowly but surely winning the war on my softening muscles.

The thing I like about photography though, is the ability to capture someone's best side. I know urban gritty is all the rage, but when I take pics of me or those I know - I try to do two things.. Capture their personality in a frame and also catch their most flattering angle, their best side.

On this blog, I try to post some of the photos of me that reflect the real me and those that make me look better than I actually do. Some make my nose look big, others make me look fat.. But mostly I post the ones that don't make me cringe, those that manage to minimize my ass and others in which I have photoshopped away the zits until I actually think I look quite pretty. Yes, I know self-deprecation is my usual flavor, and it is part of the real me.. but we also know I wouldn't post photographs of myself if I thought I looked like shit...well, I suppose until today.

I decided to post today's photo because if I'm going to be honest in my writing, I ought to do the same with the photos. Thing is, in this blog I'm not painting a Monet of married life, all frilly flowers and lambent ponds, colors that caress the eye and please the brain. This here corner of The Internets is my Van Gogh self portrait. It's thick textured brushstrokes are clumpy and uneven. Tomato soup reds and violin browns bulge from the canvas in gobs..Gooey greens compete for sky space with depressed blues.. A chaotic, imperfect, creative endeavor.

If you step inside and leave your judgement at the door you can see it. The beauty. The pain. The painfully beautiful nature of a woman slowly coming to terms with herself and those around her.

Reader Comments (45)

Um, I think you can leave all honesty at the damn door. Sometimes "tell me, don't show me" is the best policy. Good god woman, have some pride. You might as well just paste your bare white ass all over the site you've nothing else to hide.
April 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCunning Linguist
Cunning Linguist, I'm not sure how to take that comment. I do know I am mad that Monica's "ugly" picture is better than my good photos.
April 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAimee
Oh sexy girl, that is sexy! You don't look half bad though! :)
April 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJen
Now if I were to post a just woke up picture of me, it certainly wouldn't look as good as this picture of you Monica.

My hair would be the first noticeable thing. It would be all over the place. Pieces of hair sticking out in the most unusual way. Then my eyes may be noticed. Sunk back in, bags under my eyes.
My mouth would be another. Just sitting there. My lip protruding out.

That may be a picture of the real you Monica. But damn even when you just wake up, it's not a bad one!

And you fat? HA! Many people have told me there's not an ounce of fat on you! Just telling you what others say.
April 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterFiabug
Cunning Linguist, I don't know if you're trying to be funny, but I find most of your posts to be base and lewd. This is exactly the mentality that keeps woman slapping on make-up and obssessing over their weight. Shame on you.

You rock, Monica!
April 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSera
Monica wrote "If you step inside and leave your judgement at the door you can see it. The beauty. The pain. The painfully beautiful nature of a woman slowly coming to terms with herself and those around her."

and the first comment is this "Good god woman, have some pride. You might as well just paste your bare white ass all over the site you've nothing else to hide"

That's fucking sad but also something I would expect from one who calls himself "Cunning Linguist"
April 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBHgirl
I aim to please. My comments are honestly honest and for that I offer no apologies. I like Monica, she knows this and I imagine she can take a low-blow from a pig like me once in a while. I am sure Monica loves her cunning linguist lurking and posting as the devil in him sees fit. The Linguist sardonically skulks about waiting to pounce on innocent prey.
April 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCunning Linguist
Not all guys are as self-absorbed as that one. I enjoy your vulnerability; in fact I think I may have seen you once or twice like this back in the old days.

*jump back 14 years*

Casey sitting in the Butler kitchen on a Sat. morning enjoying a bowl of discount bag of "Fruity-O's" from the bottom shelf at Macey's grocery store. The top of his mouth getting cut to hell because unlike regular "Fruit Loops" these little bastards do not get soft in milk, they just sit in the bowl like rocks. Just as I am nimbly trying to get each “O” in line with appropriate tooth, for a proper crunch, in walks little pre-pubescent Monica, fresh zits and all. Of course Monica not knowing that I am in the kitchen as she so elegantly enters, all at once does a pivot-back-step-spin move-followed by shrieking noise and inaudible curses.

*Jump forward to present*

Monica stylishly enjoying her human self and sharing it with the world.
April 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCChild
That's a lie. I didn't get zits until college.
April 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMonica
ALL TRUE!!!
April 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCChild
Girl, you look better than most models after they've been sittin' in makeup for an hour!!

April 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAME
That too, is a lie.. but I thank you very kindly nonetheless AME...
April 25, 2006 | Registered CommenterMonicaBielanko
I look like a Victoria Secret model when I wake up.

*brushes long, luxurious hair, lips parted perfectly*
April 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSicksadworld
You know who else looks good in the morning?

Xmastime!

April 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSicksadworld
Just putting my 2 cents in the jar of compliments this morning. Not that you need it!!

And I'm just trying to butter you up.
April 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAME
I'm jealous of your bravery. I like to think I look like a cute little sleepy puppy when I wake up, but I probably look more like roadkill.
April 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJo
Xmastime DOES look fucking awesome in the morning. man.
April 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterXmastime
....and no, Im not pissed at Sicksadworld for bragging to everyone that we're doing it.
April 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterXmastime
Aha! Those two "ugly" photos I emailed you seemed to have been an inspiration to post a real one of your own I see;-)
Still...you have that beautifully shaped face, the huge blue eyes and lips without any need for lipstick. Only the look in your eyes reveals the fact that you do not really like what you see (well actually what you saw in that moment was the camera..) so better: that you do not really want anyone to see you "like this".
But I think you know you're beautiful, you don't believe it every day but every now and then you do..I hope!!
Wish I had those one mile long eyebrows by the way...
Judith
April 25, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjudith
Ladies and gentleman, Judith from Germany is on the board! Welcome, Judith!! And those photos of you were fantastic. You are adorable.
April 25, 2006 | Registered CommenterMonicaBielanko
Thank you Monica... The adorable me smiles and says hello to everyone! (the other me is sitting in her tiny little room watching Buffy while typing...)
April 25, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjudith
Ahhh Judith another Buffy watcher. I heart Spike. :)
April 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterFiabug
well Fiabug, then we will have a little bitchy fight about Blondy-Bear because I want him, too!!
April 25, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjudith
HA HA! I don't mind sharing. I think the more admirers of Captain Platinum the better.
April 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterFiabug
right you are...he really is adorable enough to be shared!
gotta say goodnight for now, its 11:35pm in Germany and the alarm clock is set on 7am for tomorrow... I have no idea what time it is wherever you are??
April 25, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjudith
5:35 pm here on the East Coast of the USA. Good night!
April 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterFiabug
these timezones are a weird thing...
see ya
April 25, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjudith
Aw, friendships blossoming on The Girl Who. Monica, you are a brave one, except it isn't that brave when you look just as stunning without makeup.
April 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterGemma
Number 1 - I had to look up lambent.
Number 2 - Your eyebrows are superb. F'real.
April 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterEmily
This post was fantastic! Thanks for daring to bare your naked face. I was beginning to feel like a troll after looking at all your photos. Although this one doesn't make me feel much better.
April 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle
The juxtaposition of the photo you posted and your profile photo was not lost on me. I think you're just as beautiful in both of them.
April 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterStFarmer
Hi,
I Found Absolutely FREE PlayBoy & PentHouse:
http://www.playmates-girls.com
http://www.oxpe.net
If I find something else I'll inform you.
Best Regards, Yuriy
April 26, 2006 | Unregistered Commenteryuriy
Well done yuriy. Thanks for finding that for me and please do keep me posted.
April 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMonica
cunning linguist you suck ass....on the other hand love me some cchild...my girl has always been beautiful and we know this!
April 26, 2006 | Unregistered Commentermama
Ohhhh! Xmastime!

So THAT'S what "fucking" is!

I had heard tell of this "screwing my brains out," but I had no idea!

This isn't awkward for you...is it? Best 3 hours of my life!
April 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSicksadworld
To what kind of cheese would you liken your ass? A crumbly but firm feta? Squishy and runny cottage cheese? Firm, smooth cheddar? Put me down for a silken tofu (white and wobbly).
April 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterPurr Meow
Oh that it were silken tofu! Alas, silken is not a description befitting my ass... Mark me down for cottage cheese.
April 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMonica
Sicksadworld- I don't know what your talking about but I like it.

Mama-I know I am a bastard, if you only knew me better we may get along.

Purr Meow-I am gonna puke

Monica-Get your book published.
April 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCunning Linguist
I think Mama knows you better than you think.. You are fairly transparent.
April 26, 2006 | Registered CommenterMonicaBielanko
I've been looking through your photos before you posted this one and I agree with Judith: I like you the most on the ones with no make-up on at all. That's real beauty - from inside!
April 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMechthild
Ok, on this one you do look a bit: "zerknautscht" is the german word for it: my dictionary says: "crumpled". I hope it has the same meaning.
April 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMechthild
Crumpled.. As in: her face was crumpled.. I like that.. It usually brings to mind a person bursting into tears.. but I like the visual of one waking up with a "crumpled face".. Very nice.

For this photo - I woke up and reached for my camera. Took only one photo. This one.
April 26, 2006 | Registered CommenterMonicaBielanko
I did the wake up and take a photo thing one time. I don't think it's a good picture of me necessarily, but I still like how it turned out. Honesty in photos is kind of hard to achieve... but that's one good method.

Anyway. I liked this piece.
A

April 28, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAlex
You knew this was coming, some crapass line about you being beautiful inside and out.. blah blah. Brave is beautiful, and you, my friend, are both. Very.
April 30, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie Klein
You look very young.
That's a good thing.
The weariness takes its' toll later.
May 4, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjoe

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