I could compare my life to the scene Back to the Future when Marty McFly’s mom disappears from a family photo, leaving only space where she once stood. I could tell I was fading from photos like Mrs. McFly, but the truth is, I’ve never been in them. When friends gather for a photo on the beach, leaning close and surrounded by waves, I escape comfortably to refill my drink.
I could also start this essay by asking an old question. Which came first: the proverbial “chicken” (I do not like my photo) or the “egg” (I do not always like myself)?
Last Christmas, my parents moved out of my childhood home, so I went back to the family flotsam. The remnants of my life — and their lives in front of my brother and me — were piled on benches and dumped through the open closet doors. The rooms were filled with frayed school folders, stacks of calendars and karate belts in various colors. A five-foot-tall Tutankhamun paper maker I made in third grade was sitting under an abandoned Christmas tree.
In the basement, I discovered a light blue plastic box with heavy photographs from 1930 to 1990: I was spying on a photograph of my smiling gray-haired grandmother, opening a screen door, with a hand placed in her heart. In another, she is younger and standing on a sea wall. She is wearing trousers and her thick hair is curly and pinned. She wears cat-eye sunglasses, dark lipstick and a confident smile. Behind her, the ridge wave sends foam into the air, like confetti falling just for her. In another photo, he is sitting on the hood of an old car, with his hand on his head, his mouth wide open, laughing.
People have said that my grandmother looked like Elizabeth Taylor and bBefore she died, I asked her to pose for photos. “Raise your cheeks and your chin to the light,” she said, pointing to her recline as a nurse prepared her bag. “It’s about holding your head up and thinking, I’m the star. “
I asked everyone to share my photos: honest, pose, good, blurred or bad. Photos that I knew existed but had not actually seen.
There are many ways to start an essay like this. I could tell you about the empty Google Drive I sent to twelve people: friends I talk to every day and people I’ve lost touch with a long time ago. I asked everyone to share my photos: honest, pose, good, blurred or bad. Photos that I knew existed but had not actually seen. Why; When I occasionally consent to my photo being taken, I do not look at the result.
I’m a fat burner who really loves herself. I use my work to repel lipophobia and prejudice. However, if my smile is not right enough or my angles are not perfectly positioned, this warm feeling of frustration swells and makes my chest burn. Before I hugged my body, I was worried about the photos because of my weight. Now? My gender, my hair, my expression, my attitude and my lighting are excuses.
Fat activist and its author Weightless, Maggie McGill talks about accepting your obesity and self-confidence in photos. They say that in order to feel comfortable with your body in the photos, you have to experience yourself from many angles. Notice where your stomach folds. Explore where it softens your chin. Examine the contour of your face (eyebrows, cheeks, bone). This is a skill and a muscle. One that I am learning to strengthen.
Exploring a Google Drive was not like digging a bin in the basement. There were spots of smiles and stained pieces of life. In the photos from the beginning of college, I am small and feminine. I can hardly recognize myself. There are photos of the elementary school — a neighborhood girl in loaded shorts — an “I” that I remember well. There is a 15 year old version of me, with straight hair and an early wardrobe, when I thought my desire for girls would ruin my life. (Plot twist: He saved me.) There were photos where I am bigger, bigger, with tattoos and stronger than lifting weights. In these, I am older, a more calcified version of who I am — the person I should be.
It is loving to say, ‘Stop, right there. “I want to remember you who exist at the moment.”
in 2015, before I clarify that I am a lesbian and accept my thickness, I read an essay by Ashley Ford. She talked about how loving her boyfriend (today’s husband), regardless of her weight, helped change her perceptions of herself. “I know that true love makes room for you to love yourself as you are and as you are you “I want to be,” he wrote. Those words were revolutionary to me then. I did not have to stay small to be loved.
Later, I met Sarah Hollowell, who wrote about how she was not “a little fat”, was fat and still had a wonderful, satisfying sex life. “My curves are not in all the right places, but they still bring men to their knees,” he wrote. “This [is true]despite the fact that I have been told that because I am fat, I can not expect them to love me, to want me, to adore my body “.
Ford and Hollowell allowed me to stop shrinking. They helped me understand that I did not have to be a slim, feminine girl to matter. I evolved years ago, even if I did not have photos to prove it. The lack of photographic data is not a tragedy and Google Drive did not destroy me, but both made me realize that I am in the next fork on the road. It is time, not only to live my life like the thick embankment that I am, but to acquire it, to taste it and I see the.
My Google Drive has gaps: Places that underline a decade saying “now is not the time” or I expect a brighter future where I will be more beautiful, better, less … me. The truth is that I have a life worth remembering now. I deserve to look directly into the lens – for reasons I may not feel ready for.
It’s lovable for someone to say, “Stop, right there. I want to remember you right now.” It is pleasant to comply: to slow down, to smile and to let yourself be seen. In the basement, I spent decades of my grandmother’s life in minutes. Her photos are a gift.
There is still time to feel more comfortable with the photos and to make a box of memories that one day someone I love can find. One winter afternoon, I may be found singing karaoke on my 26th birthday – my chin raised in the light, my hand in my heart, laughing. They will think, S.he was handsome. So was her life.
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