Have you ever had professional pictures done? I’m going to guess yes – even if it was just Sears Portrait Studio or what have you. Do you remember the apprehension, anticipation, and excitement of waiting to see those photos? Most of the time now we don’t have to wait at all – they pop up on a screen instantly and we can yay or nay it and be merrily on our way sure that we captured that perfect shot!
Not quite two weeks ago I was treated to a day of pampering and photos. I had my make-up done, as did the other girls, and took the time to actually ‘do’ my hair. I opted out of having it done because I’m a little anal when it comes to my hair and people have funny ideas about short hair and how to best style it and in my case, it’s usually with complete disregard for the shape and size of my head!
Anyway I was wound tighter than a blue hair’s perm and literally feeling anxiety about having these photos taken. I was feeling insecure about the following things: length of hair, width of waist, pooch of tummy, lack of the “right” clothing, and generally being a basket case. It took all I had to not cancel. I did not cancel because this photo shoot was a gift courtesy of my coach and a way to celebrate all of our hard work over the preceding 90 days in an effort to become the kickass-est version of ourselves that we could be! Clearly, I missed the message based on my almost visceral reaction to photo day!
Then? It happened. We got to the house where we were having the photos done. We started changing, sipping on wine, trying on jewellery, and taking our turns in front of the camera. It. was. so. much. fun! By the time we were done, each and everyone of us was glowing, and not just because of the wine! If there was ever a workshop for positive reinforcement, love, and body acceptance, it happened in that basement over a 2 hour period, if that, on a sunny Saturday afternoon!
We all left feeling on Cloud 9! We hadn’t seen the photos yet and so that was what was next – the ‘reveal’. The reveal happened last night aannnddddd I turned into the ‘not enough’ girl again. I scrutinized and compared and worked myself up into quite the state over these photos. They were sent to my two best friends, my daughter, and my husband. I was literally in tears.
Ridiculous? Yes. Very. I am in the best shape I have ever been in my life. I am 20 pounds lighter than I was in September of 2014. I am the same weight, give or take a pound or two, as I last was in 2003. I workout 6 days a week and have strong thighs, arms, and am working on some abs. I eat more vegetables in a day now than I did for the entire year of 2010. I am enough.
Yet the woman or girl who has been comparing herself to everyone since she was old enough to know or think that it mattered what other people thought? Well she had a fucking hay day with these photos. She would not shut up and one of the first things I thought when I woke up this morning was “Oh, right, the pictures.” I’m embarrassed. I’m embarrassed that I let something so awesome turn into something pretty ugly for a solid 12-18 hours. I’m embarrassed that I did to myself exactly what I coach or tell others not to do. I’m embarrassed by my own lack of self love and acceptance.
At work today I was given the disc with my individual portraits on it. I like them. I was looking at them and my sons asked to see and in one photo, where I am flexing, he exclaimed: “You look like a body builder!” In that moment, I felt proud. I relaxed a little. I chose to look at these photos not in comparison to anyone else. I chose to look at me. I saw someone who 2 years ago would have told anyone who listened: “I am NOT getting up to workout before work, that’s ridiculous.” I openly mocked my very active fit friends about their running and workouts. I eschewed vegetables as “gross” and relied on the occasional serving of frozen corn to fuel my body in addition to candy, bread, and anything primarily comprised of sugar.
So am I perfect? Is my body “perfect”? No and no. Am I enough and is my body “enough”? Yes and yes. Do I have to work on this notion every. single. goddamn. day.? Yes. Ladies, all the ladies – stop beating yourself up, now! You are lots of things and they are all wonderful. Talk to yourself as you’d talk to your best friend. Your best friend (if you’re anything like me) could do, say, or think something really asinine and you would spend as long as it took supporting her (or him) through whatever that was and reassuring them they are a good person and listing off all of the reasons why – so do that for yourself!
The photo below is what did it, in case you are wondering. It was this one and one other that really got me going and that I am now going to share with you because as my very wise friend said: “Literally the best thing about you is that you ARE NOT the same as the other two in the picture.” She was in no way, shape, or form meaning anything negative against the two absolute ripped beauties in the photo with me – she was simply trying to get me to acknowledge and celebrate myself as an individual and not in comparison to anyone else.
Finally I’ll leave you with these wise words, which are also hers:
“This isn’t about who is the skinniest… It’s about being healthy and still being able to live a life that satisfies you. Sometimes that means eating the good stuff.” So eat the good stuff, I will. Workout every morning, I will. Be proud of who I am and keep moving forward, I will, and so will you. xoxo