Focusing on the best years of your life: high school, college, career, and (of course) family.

So you’re feeling too fat to be photographed . . .

Syndicated on BlogHer.com

Listen. I hear you. You’re a few pounds heavier than you like (or a 100lbs 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, 9 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.

So You're Feeling Too Fat for Pictures? My Friend Teresa Photography Puts it All in Perspective.

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 . . . newsflash 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 separetes . . . ) 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.

 

6 Responses to “So you’re feeling too fat to be photographed . . .”

  1. Jerry Gamble

    I have to say that I AM one of those larger women who have gained, and lost, and then lost and gained, and gained some more, spiralling ever so nicely up and down like the proverbial yo-yo.
    After reading this letter – and to the author – a hearty congrats on overcoming such a massive obstacle and pain as a car accident – thank you – for pointing out the obvious. Apparently I could not see past the weight to see reality.
    You put it so succinctly about what is important. You are alive, you are ( I hope, getting better)woman, you are Mom, etc.,
    After reading this, I will forget about the fat, perhaps still grimace a tad, but, I will BE in that photograph Thank you so much for sharing your story. Kind regards, Jerry

    Reply
  2. Karen

    Your smile is AMAZING and that’s what I see when I look at your picture! God’s light is shining right through your beautiful smile! I hope your life is filled with many blessings to come. Thank you for sharing your story–it’s powerful!

    Reply
  3. RiverTam

    While I appreciate the sentiment of this post, *I* do not feel like I am pretty enough or thin enough or to be photographed. I actively go out of my way not to have my picture taken because *I* do not like how I look. I know I’ll be forgotten when I’m gone…and that’s ok. I’m not the kind of person who makes a mark on the world. There are far better people who deserve to have their picture taken and remembered. My bones will turn to dust, my flesh will join with soil, and the world will go on without me. Whether or not I have my picture taken doesn’t make a lick of difference in the long run because no one will remember a nobody like me.

    Reply
  4. Bridget

    First I have to say I am shocked that there are only 2 comments on your blog entry! I know for a fact your words are resonating with a lot of people because I have seen it shared and liked multiple times! I am one of those women who it has hit home with. I have gone from petite to plus size and felt so much shame. Not from my husband or friends ..although it really does seem as though people don’t photograph you as much…….really it’s been shame from within myself. I’m done with that my kids love me and want me to be documented in their lives! I have forced myself to be in photographs throughout the “fat” years and it showed on my face..I want to show the joy I feel in my kids and my life and my fabulous husband! I’m working towards being healthier etc.. but have realized to be healthy physically is to be health emotionally…..sounds trite but it’s true….It truly is a revelation to realize you are here and alive and people love you, there is so much beauty in the world and so what you are heavier than you want to be. Just live your life.

    Reply
  5. Ann

    Most of my adult life I’ve been quite fat and would only keep photos that flattered me. Like my mother before me my hair started thinning at menopause, and that just compounded my angst. Then last year my beautiful souse was diagnosed with cancer. I spent many days in the company of women with little or no hair. Some proudly displayed heads, some adorned with scarves or hats. Fewer wigs than I expected. I came to get pretty philosophical about hair–and then fat. I figure that as long as I am alive, loving, laughing, and loved I am just fine. So, take my picture.

    Reply
  6. Bethany

    I am sobbing. Thank you so much for this. I am a 28 year old currently plus size girl (thank you thyroid and adrenals) who is on the brink of starting life with an amazing man who loves me the way I am. And these are words I needed to read, as I constantly shy away from the camera, even though I love taking pictures. Haha

    Reply

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About My Friend Teresa

Teresa Porter

My Friend Teresa Studios is a boutique portrait studio in Cary, NC specializing in high school, teen, family and child photography that shows everyone from the camera-shy to the goof-ball at their best. Principle photographer, Teresa, has been recognized by Rolling Stone Magazine and published on The Huffington Post.

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