Listen. I hear you. You’re a few pounds heavier than you like (or a 100 lbs heavier than you like). I completely understand how you feel. I get that same blah feeling about myself when I think about booking new head shots or long overdue pictures of me and Justin. Precious, I even picked a career that has me permanently behind the camera rather than in front of it. Seeing myself in pictures actually produces the faintest sick feeling in my stomach. Isn’t it amazing we can see the beauty in our best friends, sisters, mothers, and aunts without the slightest thought to their flaws… but can obsess for hours on our own imperfections? We fixate on our flaws to the point we shirk at any documentation that our round faces and curvy bodies ever walked the earth. No pictures to show how we LOVE, how we laugh, how we are treasured by our families. How is it possible that a double chin can overpower the beauty of a mother cuddling her child? How does arm fat distract from the perfect shot of a spontaneous hug? I swear y’all… how is it that we can put more value on a TUMMY ROLL than the captivating way you throw yourself into a roar of laughter during a shoot?
In our warped minds pictures become frozen mirrors that we can stare at as we pick apart our features over and over again.
I know girl. I know.
My personal duck-and-cover (or signature “make a funny face”) approach to having pictures of myself changed completely when I had a serious car accident last year (and started over). In the flash of a second (or a flash of the text message the young woman was reading) my entire life changed. I nearly left this earth with no physical evidence of the goofy, wide open and loud love I have for my life, my husband, my family and friends. I haven’t had professional pictures done since our wedding in 2006… always waiting for this elusive moment where I would be thin enough (pretty enough) to have such a permanent record of me. Because, you know, HEAVEN FORBID there be any proof that I look the way I actually look.
So here is the harsh truth y’all. Listen good. Our vanity is no longer enough of a reason to avoid the camera. Life doesn’t wait until you “get thin” enough to capture it. Life is happening… it is happening right now and the only moment we are guaranteed is the one we are living. I shudder at the thought of leaving behind no pictures of my life with ME in it. My mom says of the accident she is “just glad that we’re still a whole family.” My gift to her this Christmas was a family portrait showing just that, nine months post-accident… a whole family.
Do you know what my mom sees when she looks at this picture? Her beautiful family all together.
Do you know what my husband sees? The family he gained the moment he met me (and how much he looks like my dad…)
Do you know what my dad sees? The happy family he has worked for every day of his life.
Do you know what my brother sees? That he got away with wearing shorts…
Shocker: No one is looking at how fat I look.
Can we agree to put the value of family over the value of fat? Can we just accept that the weight you’ve been trying to lose for 5 years might actually just be a part of what you look like… and that if this magical day does come when you’re acceptably thin you’ll STILL regret not having any pictures of you with your kids from ages 5-10? Can we acknowledge that the insecurities we have in our heads will never be a part of how our children, husbands, and friends see us? Can we just please let our loved ones remember the YOU they love?
Your children want pictures with their mom.
Your husband wants pictures with his beautiful wife.
Your mom and dad want pictures of the happy, successful, amazing woman they raised (OK, and more pictures of the grandkids while you’re at it).
And if you’re thinking that high school friend on Facebook will say to herself (“wow she has gained weight”) then… news flash you DID. You gained weight. Shed a tear. Read a book. Drink a sweet tea. Watch Oprah. Whatever it takes. Accept this reality… YOU GAINED WEIGHT. The truth is you’ve gained a lot of other things too (a career, a family, some kids, a house, a love for travel, the ability to coordinate your separates…) and that girl from high school is going to spend a lot more time hating on those things then she ever will on your double chin.
So you’re feeling too fat to be photographed? OK… but you’re the only one who notices. The rest of us are too caught up in loving you.
Teresa is a photographer and blogger. Her work can be found at myfriendteresablog.com.
So, in the last year alone, I’ve been prescribed antibiotics as a result of: dropping a hot frying pan on my own hand, accidentally slamming a hot baking sheet into my own chest; falling off a non-moving boat, and getting bitten by a spider at a 5-star restaurant.
In looking at the bright side… I think my life fully proves that…
Be encouraged, my friends.
Oops, I let a lot of time slip by! It’s been a crazy-whirl-wind start to Spring.
With regard to this post…
And that’s really all there is to say about that.
I promise to be back this weekend with a good story! I owe you that!
I don’t have much to say today… I have a crazy (hilarious in retrospect) story to report next week but it’s Friday and I just can’t today.
I know I’m super behind the hype, but I only recently jumped on Lennon and Maisy’s YouTube Page, and let me tell you – I am now obsessively hooked. Holy smokes! They’re so talented and adorable (Lennon’s only a few years younger than me so I don’t know that it’s really appropriate for me to refer to her as “adorable” but nevertheless…). I love the way they look at each other, such sweet sibling love.
This has become my new favorite, as I’ve watched it like 10 times this week. Check it out and have an awesome Valentine’s Weekend.
Shh. Don’t get weird.
I don’t know where this is coming from right now in terms of why I decided to write about it but… here it goes…
Death does not scare me. In fact, it kind of thrills me. Not in a morbid, suicidal, depressing, freaky kind of way but in like a… “I bet heaven is bad-A” kind of way.
I’ve been kind of interested in it all for as long as I can remember. When my great-grandfather passed away (I was 6), I was fascinated by the idea of him with the angels, or rather becoming an angel, which I’ve since learned isn’t really what happens but that’s okay because I’m sure it’s all still awesome – better even!
And for as long as I can remember, I’ve loved the story of Elijah. How cool would it be to be scooped up by a chariot of fire sent from heaven and to go up in what is repeatedly described as a “whirlwind”? …um, yes please! Even if I do have to go naked like Elijah. Sure, I have some insecurities, but if being naked is what it takes, I’ll strip down, jump on that fire-chariot and let it all hang out.
Haha, my slight obsession with all of this (obviously) freaks other people out. It’s become my replacement “well, that’s a bummer” response to say, “Gr. I can’t wait for my chariot” and my friends will all glare at me and say, “I swear, if you do not shut up about the chariot…” and if somehow the conversation comes up with strangers / acquaintances, they kind of look at me speechless like,
“Uhhh, is this chick serious?”
It all makes me laugh!
Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say is that if anything were to ever happen to me… it’s okay. Don’t let anyone be sad. I’ll be so so SO pumped.
I’m also pretty pumped to be a drunk ol’ crazy granny with my girlfriends so… you know, there’s no reason to panic either. Haha…
I am exhausted lately. I don’t know why – it’s not that I’m “going hard” or anything. Just tired. So. So. Tired.
I had two meetings last night one with the Massey Alliance (if you’re in Richmond, we’re planning a Giant Richmond Brunch to benefit the Massey Cancer Center, and it’s going to be awesome so mark your calendars!) and the other with a small group at my church– which I actually didn’t make it to (it was raining and I was going to be so late!).
I moseyed back into my apartment thinking I could go for a little relax and my brain flip-flopped between turning on a yoga video and walking around the corner to grab a drink. I was slumped in my grandpa’s old recliner going back and forth, back and forth when I decided on a compromise:
and sat cross-legged on my yoga mat drinking wine.
It was a glorious evening and I was in bed by 9.
I’ve got to find some energy and motivation soon or it’s going to be another one of those summers.
Haha… but seriously.
So, I’m sitting at my desk laughing out loud at the evil brilliance that daily sits in my head but never escapes the confines of my imagination.
We’ll call this entire thing hypothetical…
Let’s say, hypothetically, you had been dating someone. And because of the time spent together, you had logged his devices into your Pandora account… because you have the paid account and so you don’t have to listen to any commercials, and duh, that’s just a dating courtesy.
Let’s say, again hypothetically, that dating said-person didn’t end super well. Or rather, it just never really got the ending / reworking of the relationship that it deserved (deserves*)… which feels worse than “didn’t end super well” …or, you know, it would feel worse, if this wasn’t all hypothetical…
Let’s say that now, with a little hurt still sittin’ in your heart, when you log in to your Pandora account, occasionally there’s a new station added to your list. Let’s go so far as to say that even though it stings a little, you end up liking the stupid station. Which is just, ugh… but you like it, damnit… you like it.
You don’t want to be petty and change your password and c’mon, you’re gaining some good new stations. Plus, you know that you’ll be friends again before too long and this will all be kind of funny…
Let’s say though, that you haven’t really gotten to speak your mind on it all… that the topic has been avoided…
WHAT IF you were to change all the stations to ones whose titles would speak your mind for you…
It wouldn’t be about the songs themselves… but about what this person saw when they clicked back into the app… Your own little force-you-to-read-me letter…
Ha. Haha. Ha.
If you were to do that, which you wouldn’t because you’re an adult and you really do have faith that the friendship will come back around, but if you were… wouldn’t it be funny…
(If your patience for my post is running thin, scroll down through this list, it’s worth it, I promise.)
- There’s always that F/Forget You, Cee Lo song… which is just a little too intense, but the idea of it being on the list… pretty brilliant.
- Same with that I Hate Everything About You, Three Days Grace song, not really applicable — to this hypothetical situation — but again, pretty funny.
- I Heard It Through the Grape Vine, Marvin Gay
- Rumor Has It, Adele
- Burn, Usher
- Cold As You, Taylor Swift
- Hell On The Heart, Eric Church
- You Give Love a Bad Name, Bon Jovi
- Like a Wrecking Ball, Eric Church
- You Must Be Out Of Your Mind, Magnetic Fields
- Best Days of Your Life, Kellie Pickler
- I Hate Myself For Loving You, Joan Jett
- Whiskey and You, Chris Stapleton
- You’re So Vain, Carly Simon
- Go Your Own Way, Fleetwood Mac
- Highway to Hell, ACDC
- What Goes Around Comes Around, Justin Timberlake
- Here’s a Quarter – Call Someone Who Cares, Travis Tritt
- Gives You Hell, American Rejects
- You’ll Think of Me, Keith Urban
- Me, Myself, and I, Beyonce
- I Don’t Care Anymore, Phil Collins
- Better Man, Pearl Jam
- Do My Thang, Miley Cirus
- Peaceful Easy Feelin, The Eagles
- Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright, Bob Dylan
- Irreplaceable, Beyonce
- I Will Survive, Gloria Gaynor
- Bye Bye Bye, The Backstreet Boys
Reading between the lines, one might get a little message like…
- F/Forget You. I Hate Everything About You and you know what, I Heard It Through the Grape Vine that you’re seeing someone now and actually, Rumor Has It you were probably messin’ around anyways. But after everything we’ve been through? Ugh, Burn. I didn’t think someone could be as Cold As You. This has all been such Hell On The Heart and in turn, You Give Love a Bad Name. I feel like I got hit by, I don’t know, Like a Wrecking Ball but you know what? You Must Be Out Of Your Mind because those days with me were probably the Best Days of Your Life. As it turns out, you didn’t deserve them and for that, I Hate Myself For Loving You. Okay to be fair, I hate myself for loving Whiskey and You. But back to the point, You’re So Vain, I hope you just Go Your Own Way; maybe jump on the Highway to Hell. Remember that What Goes Around Comes Around but when it does Here’s a Quarter – Call Someone Who Cares. I hope the next girl you date really Gives You Hell and I know that when she does, You’ll Think of Me but it’ll be too late because I’m looking out for Me, Myself, and I now and honestly I Don’t Care Anymore. I found me a Better Man and I’m just gunna Do My Thang from now on; that always gives me a Peaceful Easy Feelin. So really, Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright. I know I’m Irreplaceable and that I Will Survive so Bye bye bye.
I’m just sayin’… that’d make for one hell of a “subtle” letter-style station list.
Last night I was walking through Target when I realized how empty my stomach felt – I’m in that awful-terrible beginning part of a diet when you’re reminding your body what acceptable portions are and 5 minutes after you finish eating, you’re hungry again because you’ve gotten so used to eating enough for like… three…ish.
Anyway, I was walking through Target, starving and in physical pain from the emptiness of my insides (physically and emotionally, now that we’re talking about it) and I put my hand on my stomach to give it a little, “it’s okay, I promise I’ll feed you something (boring) soon” peptalk. Almost immediately, the woman in the shampoo aisle with me turned her head admiringly, grinned, and said, “Aw, when are you due?”
…if (hungry) eyes can say, “
bitch, I will cut you” …I assure you, mine did…
So we’re clear, this is me:
Sure, I need to stay on a good work-out-grind for Summer, but I hardly think I’m pregnant looking?
I’m not usually very quick-thinking. I’m one of those people who comes up with a comeback like 4 hours later and makes a note to use it next time. But I’m proud to say that the “h-anger” in me kicked in and I managed a stunned, “Uh, I don’t know. Like 5-10 years from now if things go well.”
And then I walked my happy-hungry-ass down to the Valentine’s Day candy aisle like…
Unless someone looks like they’re about to drop to the ground and start pushing, I’d say “when are you due?” is never a safe question.
Ughhhh, I can’t sleep.
For the last two hours, I have been staring at the ceiling; racking my brain, reliving conversations and events, tearing myself apart, and challenging God; telling Him what I want when He knows what I need.
Do you ever feel like you’re fighting for your Faith? Like… I KNOW God is with me. I KNOW He has a plan for me. I KNOW He goes before me. I KNOW he will not let me down. And I KNOW He is on my side.
…but honestly and shamefully, sometimes on nights like these when I should easily and trustingly give it all up to Him and go to sleep; I don’t. Instead I lie awake hurting and doubting Him and His plan. I know it’s terrible and I know it’s a waste, because I know – and I know I know – all of the above things and that when morning rolls around I’ll feel more grounded and be back on track.
…the devil sneaks around at night. That’s what I think. Planting insecurities and doubts in the darkness. He has a hold of me tonight …he had a hold of me tonight…
Because I know my God is here.
I know He is always here.
I know He has a hand on my shoulder.
I know He is guiding my life.
I know I am loved and blessed and in good hands.
And I know that these nights end.
And that the sun will come up tomorrow.
And He will still be here.
Despite my arguing with Him for the last 2 hours, He will still be here.
Forgiving, all-knowing, all-seeing, unconditionally loving…
Get some sleep …I’m talking to myself but you too! Sweet dreams.