Well, it’s time.
I’ve been putting it off, finding reasons (excuses), staying busy, and telling myself that it doesn’t matter “no one will care anyways,” but it’s time. It’s time to post a picture of ME.
For as long as I can remember I’ve hated to have my picture taken. Toward the end of any party or family gathering I would get antsy and flighty because I knew what was coming.
Dad: “HEY, gather everyone up and go stand over there so I can take your picture.” (Please notice that was a command, not a question.)
Having been born into a family with a photography-as-a-hobby father and a Japanese mother (the “oooh, tay-koo peeek-cha?” stereotype of Japanese tourists is totally accurate), I had my picture taken a lot. I had my picture taken WAY more than I was comfortable with. In fact, I have had my picture taken no less than 1000 times and I hated it every single time.
A huge part of my aversion to photos can be blamed on my friends Ana and Skinny. Neither of those two like to be photographed. They always make me feel awkward and ugly and fat and uncomfortable and fat and fat and FAT. An even LARGER part of my photo aversion can be attributed to two hugely-huge episodes of acne I had that were bad enough to require medical treatment. I was on such strong drugs to fix my skin that I ALSO had to be on birth control to prevent accidental-alien-head-flipper-babies, and since then the drug has been recalled for causing irreversible liver damage (awesome what we do for beauty, isn’t it?). My skin did eventually clear up but I’ve passionately hated my face ever since.
I have spent most of my life trying to be NOT SEEN, trying to remain UNKNOWN, trying to hide my insecurities by hiding myself. Anorexia has been my go-to method. Also avoiding video, dressing heavy in oversized male clothes, going without makeup, wearing my hair long to cover my face and neck. And dodging cameras. DODGE THOSE CAMERAS.
It’s not that I don’t LIKE photographs. Photographs are a way to make a fleeting moment last forever, a way to capture idiosyncrasies and quirks of an ever changing person. I actually own a camera and would consider myself somewhat of a photog. I use my camera like Sherlock Holmes used a magnifying glass, discovering truth and uncovering things that are not otherwise seen. You can’t lie to yourself or other people when they’ve got a photograph as proof, and you can’t hide from someone that’s purposely looking at you through a lens. The camera will see what is there without judgment, prejudice, or filter.
I really, really do love my camera, but I make darn sure I’m never on the business end of it. I never have my picture taken. If I have my picture taken we will see what is there. YOU will see what is there. I WILL SEE WHAT IS THERE. SCARY. In fact, that thought alone is scary enough to make me feel literal, sweat-beading, run-away panic.
So here we go… I’ve been staring at this computer screen long enough to know that I’m purposely procrastinating. Time to cover my eyes and jump. No more hiding.
Please note my reaction to the absolute ridiculousness of “this is me in bikini” in frame three. Skinny, Ana and I don’t wear bikinis. Skinny, Ana and I wear 3-sizes-too-big baggy men’s jeans we found in the dumpster outside my first apartment (not kidding, being serious, dumpster pants are my favorite kind). We wear Dad’s size XXL sweatshirt and men’s pj pants and boyfriend tshirts. We don’t OWN lace or demi-cups or anything that even remotely goes up our ass. We hide.
We also don’t get our photo taken, but there it is…
The new Sheriff in town says to Ana and Skinny, “You HID. No more hiding.”
In my attempt to be totally honest with myself and others, I’d like to connect some stats to this picture. I feel like these numbers are a lot more relevant than the photos:
Age – 36
Height – 5′ 6″
Weight – 146.5 lbs
Pants Size – 9 (although if I’m being honest and dressing feminine it’s probably an 8)
Babies carried to full term – 3
Number of binges – about 5460
Number of purges (not counting restricted diet) – about 585
Number of meals skipped on purpose – at least 7696
Length of time with WLR – 12 days
I remind myself now, and would remind anyone else that struggles with Ana or Mia, that saying “goodbye” to before means those statistics are not written on our foreheads in permanent marker. It means that next time I post pictures of myself and recap my life between now and then the biggest number I use will be my weight, or days with WLR, or number of pounds lifted in one workout session. The numbers will be for positive things, things of hope and life and working hard, not negative things that destroy us and eat us from the inside out. The numbers from here on out will quantify a life lived in the open without secrets, a life lived with honesty and power and self-worth.
Goodbye, Skinny. No more hiding, starting now.