… time to grab your pens & your pencils!
Not sure where that came from. Anywhoo…
A few months ago, I purchased a deal online that would allow me to have 1,000 of my photos scanned, and put onto a CD. Digitizing my ’80s and ’90s? Whaaa? That is awesome. Imagine all the Facebook trauma I could unleash.
So I started by pulling out all of my photo albums. I have pictures of me as a 5-year old, posing in front of a family friend’s plane. ‘Cause that’s how I roll. (NOT AT ALL. I don’t even know who’s friggin’ plane that was. We certainly didn’t roll in that crowd.) I have pictures from when I was in 8th grade and went to DC (I was quite the scrapbooker then, including all my flight tickets, etc.). I have pictures of when I was in Russia in High School on an exchange program in Siberia. I have pictures of me at sorority formals and random dress-up events — Ghetto night, anyone? Or, for my boyfriend’s Scholastic Frat (yes, I dated a cute nerd), “Pimps & Prostitutes” event. *shudder* And then I have pics as I grew older. Me with coworkers at the company Christmas party. Me sailing with the family. On vacations with my now hubby.
And I think back to what was happening in all those pictures. I have had an awesome life. But I have felt fat for most of it.
But I look at those pictures, and think, “Geez, that was a SKINNY girl!” or “Wow, my arms are so defined”.
Has my view of myself shifted as I’ve gotten bigger? Have I become more accepting of what is big vs. small? Or, as I imagine has happened, was I just in a cycle of self-destruction that I didn’t know that I was happy, healthy, and beautiful?
After looking through those pictures of me in Russia, I got the idea to try to find my Russian exchange student. Tuiara stayed with my family for a month my Junior year of high school, and then I traveled and stayed with her family (and my best friend) in Siberia for a month that summer. It truly was an amazing time. So I consulted The Google. And I found what appeared to be a Russian “Facebook”, where I found a girl who looked a lot like her (but 16 years later, who can really tell?), but had a new last name. So I did what any
Google Stalker curious gal would do, and emailed an address that *seemed* right. The next day, I got my answer! It really was her! We emailed back & forth, and then she friended me on the *real* Facebook. (Gosh I love that site!)
And then I had about a second to think, “Oh my. I’ve gained 75 pounds since I saw her. When we met I was in high school and 118 pounds, and I’m SO much bigger”. But then I realized, I have had an amazing life. And almost none of that has anything to do with my body size, or being heavy. The pictures she’s about to see? They’re ME. And she was one of those friends that I really don’t CARE if she knows that I’m bigger, because even 16 years later, and a language barrier, she’s like a sister to me. So how big I am? Doesn’t matter.
I was feeling pretty good about this. She started commenting on my photos – all of her comments were extremely positive and made me feel like the amazing rock star that I am. (Seriously, I’m not usually this conceited, I promise.)
Not sure if you’ve noticed, but when someone comments on a picture of you in Facebook, even when it was added months (or years!) ago, it shows up in friends’ News Feeds like it’s new. So they have another opportunity to take a look. This was one of those pictures…
The hubby & I at a winery in Paso Robles in the fall of 2011
And here are the new comments received on the picture:
Starts out really good, with Tuiara complementing me on my tall, dark & handsome husband. I could get used to this (of course, I have, which is why I married that tall drink of water!).
And then, we get the comment about my chest.
I don’t remember you being so chesty!
At first, I didn’t know how to take it. And then, I realized it was meant as a compliment, so I’ll take it that way – it definitely made me laugh. At least on the surface.
But now, I have this fear that all these people are going to realize that *gasp*, this girl is fatter than she used to be, so her lady bits have filled out a bit (if a bit can be going from a 34-B to a 40-D).
It doesn’t change who I am.
Doesn’t change that I’ve become a successful, contributing member of society.
But it does change the little persona that I thought I’d built up.
Not that I don’t expect people to notice. ‘Cause it’s awfully hard NOT to notice a girl from HS going from 120 pounds to 210 pounds (where I likely was when this pic was taken). And it’s not like she said, “Oh, man. I don’t remember your butt being so BIG!” or, “Woah, Lara, that tummy of yours has really grown, hasn’t it?”. A large chest is something that people want, right? (To a point, I suppose.) But to me, I hear that and immediately assume it means, “Woah, you’ve gotten so fat that your sweater kittens are more like pumas”. (You’re welcome for that visual.)
Does my chest look big there? Yes.
Does it always look that big? Not really, but it is a pretty hefty chest.
Is it bigger than in High School? I sure hope so.
Am I still the insecure high schooler who thought that everyone was judging her and her every move? I’m not sure.
Are you ever caught up in a circle of self-doubt and self-loathing, even though you KNOW you’re awesome? How do you kick it?