February 5, 2011

I didn't think it would be so hard

My respect for plus-sized models has increased 1,000 percent. I love women that can come out and shout about how great they feel, no matter what size they are, and wear bikinis in public. Wear skimpy dresses and hold their heads up high, dimply butts smiling gloriously at the world.
I feel silly even admitting to this, but I am a coward. With a capital, illuminated C.

The last couple of posts, I excitedly boasted that I was going to take full-length photos of my body to include myself in my thesis final. I was excited and optimistic about this process. "This is what's going to make this project personal for me." I couldn't think of a better way to promote body happiness than to throw myself into the fire so to speak.

I subconsciously put it off for a while, procrastinating. I realize now, why.

I have a great setup. A trusty tripod, a neat-o remote for my camera and I had the bathroom all to myself. I really should jury-rigged some sort of lighting setup, but I just wanted to get it done.

You'd think that I was parading down Main street in my panties the way I hemmed and hawed getting the camera set up. But then I jumped in, empowered suddenly.

After a few minutes and about 5 images, I reviewed the images on the screen of my camera. I was mortified.

"Ok, I can do this!" and had some fun with it. I made goofy faces, did silly poses. No biggie. If I have fun with this, I can take great photos.

I finished up and took the camera to my computer to start uploading images. But I hesitated plugging it in. Realization hit me that I wasn't really ready to see them. From what I saw on my camera's screen, my double chin, my lumpy thighs, I just couldn't bring myself to do it.

I sat in my chair and tears welled up in my eyes, painfully.

My boyfriend, who loves me unconditionally, lumpy thighs, double chin, flabby arms and all, looked up from his game curious as to why my mood went from bubbly to dark in the span of 20 minutes. There's nothing I can tell him that would be a significant reason for me to be so heartbroken like I am.

It wasn't the photos, per se. I know I'm fat. I see it in the mirror when I get around in the morning, I see it in my reflection when I pass a window. I see it in photos that I take with friends. I'm not ignorant of the fact that I have a fat ass. I think it was allowing myself to be vulnerable.

You're open and honest when you take photos in your underwear. You can't hide behind a baggy skirt, or a long shirt. You're THERE. I think when I see myself in the morning, I can't see past the bathroom counter which cuts my body off at the waist/crotch. I look at my hair and my face and go about my day.
I think the most honest thing that I learned today, was that I have not come as far as I thought. I'm not as "OK" with my body as I've tricked myself into thinking. This is why I cried, and this is why I'm still crying. I let myself down. I want to love me WHOLLY. Not partially.

I love me as an individual. I love that I like to watch people who are passionate about their lives, I love that I love animals, I love that I like to make funny noises and goof off and not act my age. I love that I'm compassionate and want people to like me. I love that I laugh at the ridiculous, I love my sense of humor. I love so much about me that I'm so disappointed that I don't love my body like EVERYONE SHOULD.

It'll come, I'm sure. I hope.
But right now, I'm devastated that I let myself down. I'm disappointed that I'm afraid to continue to sift through these images to find the right one to draw. But I'll stick my chin up and do it anyway. My mom wouldn't have it any other way.

You don't get to see the lower half.... YET!


  1. I just want to hug you Jenn. And let you know that you are so amazing in so many ways! I know at this time you may not be happy with yourself but it will come. I think your beauty is on the outside as well as the inside. Chin up sweetie you can so this and will be happy that you did!!

  2. This is moving and beautiful, Jenn. I have faith in you - you WILL find the right image and working through the process will help you go from fear to empowerment. I think for many women (and men) the fear of what can happen when we allow ourselves to be totally vulnerable to more than one or two other people, let alone "the public at large" is paralyzing. You're doing awesome work and it's important, not just for yourself, but for those of us whose brains you're making whirl. Lots to think about.

  3. I love this...you brought tears to my eyes. I can relate in so many ways. And I cannot wait to see how these turn out!

  4. Jenn - I am proud of you as you learn to be vulnerable ... it is not easy. Not at all.

  5. I think you are terrific! This post was beautiful. You have a great way of wording things. You are far stronger than me that is for sure. I love that you wore you kitty ears in the photo too. I can't wait to see more updates and your final product! Keep going you are doing amazing things!

  6. Thank you guys! This is a huge journey for me.
    I figured that I would at least make this silly, if I was going to do something so scary.
    And besides, I wear these kitty ears while I draw, I figured I'd include them! :)

  7. I can really & totally relate, Jen! I swear I got all teary-eyed while reading the second-to-last paragraph. You really summed it up. I am so happy to know you & be part of your journey. This kind of open dialogue & raw honesty can only help you, me & so many others. Thank you! <3