The lovely Eva asked about progress pictures. As in, where are they? Good question.
The problem is that I don’t have many before pictures. I didn’t hide from the camera; I fought like a wild cat on crack to avoid having my photo taken. It would be a permanent record of my failure, you see, captured for eternity for all to see my shame and misery.
But then a very wise woman–thankfully, a friend of mine–wrote a beautiful little post in a forum we belong to, about mourning the loss of a friend, a large woman who never allowed her picture to be taken. My friend was so sad not to have a single photograph from all the wonderful times they’d shared. I’ve almost forgotten her beautiful smile, she wrote, and the way her eyes sparkled when she laughed.
Her sorrow was profound, and it made me realize how very selfish I had been. I was all wrapped up in what I saw and felt; I never considered what my family and friends saw when they looked at my photo. Sure, there might be an odd thought or two about my size, or an observation of a particularly bad hair day or unfortunate choice of blouse, but those would be wrapped in love and compassion and good memories.
Because the people who love us, love us for our hearts and minds and smiles. Our outer selves aren’t as important as the good memories photographs evoke. And the people who don’t love us…well, what they think doesn’t really matter, especially if all they’re going to see is a size.
I’ll honor my friend by encouraging anyone who’s hiding from the camera to give the gift of memories to your loved ones. Have your photo taken and smile like you’re happy you’re alive, like you’re someone who’s loved, like you love yourself. The people who love you deserve to see that. (You do, too!)
I’m a little better about photos now, but only a little. It’s all a process, and I’m making progress. I have a few pictures here and there, and no recent ones. But when I win my January challenge and go for a makeover, I’ll tote my camera with me and see what I can do. Meanwhile, here’s a before and during:
The one on the left was a couple of years ago, and the one on the right was last October. I was somewhere around the 45 lb. mark, I think, and wearing a “before” shirt. I don’t see a huge difference, except in the size of my smile.
I’ll probably always be self-conscious when I have my picture taken, but I’m beyond the avoidance stage now. I yam what I yam, as Popeye said, and I want the people I love to remember me, especially my smile.