There was a time, way back in the dark ages, where cameras didn’t provide instant results, but rather you had to take your film to the store, go back home, drive back to the store to pick up your pictures, and then gasp in horror at what the camera revealed. I remember sitting in the parking lot of the camera shop, opening the package of pictures and sliding them out of their envelope. I’d grab the glossy stack, and start shuffling through them like a deck of cards. Children playing, cute. Birthday parties, so much fun. What is that fat blob in the edge of that picture? ME! I’d stop at the picture that had me in it and stare in disbelief. Who was that woman?
I knew I was wearing a size 26/28, but sometimes I couldn’t really see what that looked like. I knew the last time I got on the scale it was almost to its 300 pound capacity. But I didn’t know what I really looked like to other people.
“This is why I don’t get my picture taken,” I’d scream at myself. “The camera just isn’t kind to me.” I’d quickly shuffle through the rest of the pictures, not really enjoying them, because all I could think about was the one picture I was in. “Why did John take my picture?” I’d fume internally. “He knows I hate getting my picture taken.” (It’s so funny to me now that I would get mad at John for taking my picture.)
Before I got home, I’d remove the offending picture(s) and throw them in the trash. If they were of something important like my birthday or Mother’s Day, I’d keep the “best” ones, but the other ones, I ditched. That’s why if you look at the before pictures on the blog, they aren’t very good pictures. No posed portrait shots, no “you look great today” let me take your picture shots. Just random pictures that I allowed someone to snap of me when my defenses were down.
Time after time I’d see pictures of myself, and stare in disbelief. Every single picture surprised me. This probably says something about my lack of self-perception, but it is how I felt. Surprised. There were certain pictures that were worse than others, like this one:
When I saw this picture of myself, I never wore shorts again. It’s interesting that I still ate chocolate, but rather blamed the bad picture on the outfit, rather than the woman in it!
I’ve read weight loss stories of people who began losing weight after seeing an unflattering picture of themselves. For them, that was the defining moment. I wish it had been for me, because I would have not ended up morbidly obese for so many years. Rather than the bad picture spurring me to action, the pantry was my solace.
I wish I had been more confident in myself, and been able to appreciate all the good things I had to offer my family without so often wrapping it up in my appearance. But I wasn’t there yet. I still tied my self-worth up with my appearance, and that wasn’t good for me in the long run.
The woman in my pictures wasn’t the woman I wanted to be – either appearance wise, or confidence wise. How I long to have those obese years back, and really take the time to appreciate every single good moment I had with my family, instead of experiencing so much self-loathing and unhappiness. What does your camera reveal about you? Can you go beyond the appearance and appreciate all the good things you have to offer the world? Can pictures of yourself start spurring you into action, getting healthier and more fit, and more able to make a positive impact on your world? What do you think? Diane