Do not adjust your monitors. The image below is not some work of photoshop magic. It is merely a scan of photos that are now irreparably stuck together because they were left on a radiator.
Why would anyone leave perfectly good pictures of a vacation to a tropical paradise atop a hot radiator? That is an excellent question. Well, that picture at the top of the stack was the only picture of myself in the whole stack, and I hated it. I couldn’t stand how I looked. Looking at this picture back in the summer of 2005, it only confirmed for me how fat I was (and yes, I’m definitely fatter now). Consequently, I never put the photos into an album, and “unintentionally” left them on a radiator, where they melted together. I had taken them with a disposable camera (my digital camera died in the middle of my trip), have no idea where the negatives are, and consequently lost all photographic evidence of this trip, save for this melted pile.
As a result of this picture and pressure from people in my life who were doing Weight Watchers, I embarked on my last diet. To make a long story short, I lost a bunch of weight, started gaining it back (like everyone else), found HAES(R) and fat acceptance and eventually gained it all back, plus more.
For the first time since that trip, I’m going on vacation to a tropical locale (with my fabulous friend Anne). In the past, I would have avoided any pictures of myself. The fact that I only had one picture of myself from a 5-day trip speaks volumes about my nearly lifelong avoidance of pictures. I never felt good looking at pictures – they weren’t reminders of lovely trips and time with friends, they were reminders that I never looked as good or “acceptable” as I thought I did. They just made me depressed.
Even as I got deeper into body acceptance, pictures were still hard for me. I could wrap my head around the idea that fat didn’t equal bad, but I always seemed to have more fat than I thought. I always had a bigger double chin, a bigger belly, etc. than I thought.
In the last few years, I’ve done some great experimenting with photography. I think it all started when I took Lesleigh J. Owen‘s class at the NAAFA Convention, where she encouraged us to take “bad” pictures of ourselves. Being encouraged to do that was really liberating. I also started to seek out more images of fat people in general, whether they were artfully done like Adipositivity or just regular pictures of regular folks. I realized that I needed to change my perception of what was “normal” or “good” when it came to pictures. I didn’t want looking skinnier than usual to be my only criterion for a good picture.
So, I’m hoping to do this vacation a little differently, and end up with some beautiful pictures, including ones of me.
Do any of you have this picture phobia? I hope you’ll share in the comments below.
Golda is a certified holistic health counselor and founder of Body Love Wellness, a program designed for plus-sized women who are fed up with dieting and want support to stop obsessing about food and weight. Go to http://www.bodylovewellness.com/free to get your free download – Golda’s Top Ten Tips For Divine Dining!