These photos weren't taken today, but they relate to something I'm doing today. After reading The Four Agreements several years ago, I'm finally getting around to The Fifth Agreement. I started it on Monday, reading little bits at a time, and even though I'm only twelve pages in it's really making me think about the things we are told, and tell ourselves, and the lies we believe.
Today it reminded me of this picture I came across in January, from my husband's university graduation in October 1986. I'd bought a new outfit (forgive me, it was the 80's) and he'd been with me when I picked it out.
When I saw the photo I was furious with him. I couldn't believe he'd let me buy an outfit that made me look so fat. Yes, fat. We really did have a big argument about it. It boggles my mind now, but I remember looking at the photo then and seeing great bulging thighs and a big roll around my middle. We'd been married for seven months and I'm sure he was wondering what kind of nut he had saddled himself with.
I can't really pinpoint where this warped body image originated but 25 years later it hasn't improved, especially now that I'm at least thirty pounds heavier than I was back then. In my mind's eye that thirty translates to 100. There are events and parties I stay home from because I don't want to run into people I haven't seen for a while and have them think, Wow, she's really let herself go.
Looking back at this photo, and thinking about what I'm reading has made me realize I can't always believe everything I see. The camera may not lie, but it turns out the eye has a tendency to embellish. To prove my new found belief and acceptance, I'm going to upload one of the "truly awful" photos I referred to in last month's Coche Island post. When I first saw the photo below, and the dozens of others on the CD purchased from the on board photographer, I was horrified. I was further horrified by the thought that everyone else on the trip would have copies of these photos on their CD too. When I looked at myself, all I could see was bingo wings, cellulite and back fat.
"You're too hard on yourself," was my husband's response. And he's right. When I asked if I could post this photo, he really didn't care one way or the other.
At a get-together last week, my friend Laura was taking photos and a couple of people (myself included) commented that they weren't "photogenic". Dave piped up and said, "You know, I used to think I wasn't photogenic, but then I realized...that's actually what I look like." Everyone laughed. As with all things comedic, it's funny...'cause it's true.
Today, maybe for the first time, I'm looking at a recent photo of myself and I might actually be seeing what I really look like. I see a woman, almost 50 years old, with a smile on her face, having a good time with her husband. She doesn't have the body she did when she was 24, but there's certainly no reason to be horrified.