Hi friends, welcome to the third blog! As I did last week, I want to take a second before I move on with this one to thank everyone for the input last week! And to especially thank all of you who took the time to share your photos with me. It was so fun to see so many pictures of your lives and the things you find beautiful. Perspective is everything isn’t it?
As you might be able to see from the last two blogs, I am on quite a tear regarding perception. I imagine that is because perceptions surrounding me have been changing so rapidly in the past few months. Both from how other people perceive me and probably more importantly how I perceive myself.
I don’t want to get into a big la de da about weight here. Plus sized vs. regular sized. What the fuck does that even mean? I hate the fashion industry for giving bodies labels. But, here is something I don’t like saying out loud. “I have lost 140 pounds over the past year and half.” I don’t know why I don’t like saying it out loud, but I don’t. People tell me I should be proud of it. ~ I am, I went through hell to get here. But there is something about the whole thing I don’t like.
I don’t like the idea that I have lost the equivalent of another human being. I really don’t like the idea that I ever let myself gain another human being in order to loose one in the first place. It makes me feel weak and ashamed. I don’t even like it when people are like “Oh my God, you’ve lost so much weight” or “You are soooo skinny”. To quote my friend Alex, “It gives me the freaks” and I don’t know why. Don’t get me wrong. I love a compliment, but for some reason those don’t feel like compliments. I hope they will someday. I hope I can get past that. I’m trying. This blog is part of that.
Forget pretty, I was so far removed from thinking of myself as even a woman for so long that I just re-learned how to let a gentleman open a door for me. I didn’t even realize that I had forgotten. It had just been so long since anyone had done it or probably more accurately, since I had allowed someone to do it that I totally forgot how the whole thing worked. There was this awkward moment where I was like “Holy shit, I have no idea how to do this.” I went into panic mode for half a second. I couldn’t figure out which way to step or where to stand. Hilarious. I had been plowing along for years like some angry bull in a china shop whipping doors open for myself all over the country completely oblivious that someone might be standing there trying to reach the handle for me.
Not anymore people. A man can open a door for me from now on. That shit felt good! Male readers, take note. From now on, I will be the lady standing there to the opening side of the door. Know your job.
As I sit here banging this out, I am a size 14. That’s the national average. I’m average. In my average size 14 everyone treats me much differently than they did when I weighed almost twice what I do now. I mean everyone; people who have known me my whole life and complete strangers. There are no more snickers or snide comments on the streets. Except for that one bitch at the park a few weeks ago when I was running who called me a fat ass. That was the first time in a long time that I wanted to tackle someone to the ground and punch them in the face. Fuck you lady! Can you not see that my fat ass is out here running? Then I just felt sorry for her. She must feel awful inside to need to say shit like that to strangers. I’ll also lay down money that at her size 4 she’s got way bigger body image issues than I do if that’s the first thing that pops into her mind as I huff & sweat my ass on by.
Generally speaking, people treat me much better now than they did 140 pounds ago. People smile and make eye contact. People want to be my friend and invite me to different shit. I can actually get a bartenders attention at a show and lots of times I don’t even have to pay for my drinks. Men flirt and sometimes ask me out. None of that happened all those pounds ago. I’ll take it and I enjoy it, but sometimes… only sometimes, I get kinda pissed off about it. Sometimes I feel like all of a sudden these people want to get to know me and just now are interested in what I have to say. Some of these people I have known a long time. Was it really that hard to talk to me at a size 28? Did I really make you that uncomfortable?
That’s not a voice that I hear everyday, just sometimes and I try to shut it down as quickly as it comes. I realize that it’s more than just my appearance that people are drawn to now. I recognize that it has far more to do with the walls I have torn down inside than it has anything to do with the outside, but it can mind fuck you a little from time to time.
Those moments can be hard, but really the hardest part about it all is not adjusting to how other people see me, it’s changing how I see myself. That’s what I am working on right now. Sometimes it feels very vain. I sit in front of the mirror and look at myself. I look at my eyes, my nose, my chin & cheeks. I turn to the side or stand dead on. I’m trying to learn about that girl in the mirror, I’m looking for all the things that make her beautiful. I need to be in love with her.
Funny how as self centered and narcissistic we can be as humans, owning and accepting our physical beauty is a really hard thing. Why is it so much easier to see the little lines that crinkle up by our eyes or the turkey jiggle under our chins than it is to see what a perfect nose we have or how beautiful our smile is?
I told someone recently that I have never thought of myself as pretty. They seemed surprised. But have you seen the clothing choices in a size 28? Yeah… Mumu’s and knit separates are not so cute and it’s hard to feel very pretty in them. I wandered around in that shit for almost a decade. So yeah, there is an adjustment period to thinking of myself as pretty, let alone sexy.
Ahhhhh sexy…. If you think retraining your brain to think of yourself as pretty is hard, try on sexy for a minute. Maybe you are good with it. Maybe you think you’re the hottest thing on earth. If you do, then fucking A! I applaud you and admire you. That shit is hard for me because it is not something I have ever thought of myself as. Sexual, sure, but not “sexy”. But that too is a perception about myself that is changing.
I recently took a burlesque class with two of my friends. That was probably the best money I have spent on myself in years. I was scared shitless to stand in a room full of strangers in spandex and high heels with a wall of mirrors and move my body in a sexy way. But just one class in and it made a huge difference. There I was, dancing around and finding myself focused less on my middle and more on the fact that my hips have got some moves and holy tits, batman! By the end of our three-week stint, we had the routine down; even the bra removal reveal and we were all three better for it. It boosted each of our self-esteems and proved to us that while there are parts of our bodies that we aren’t crazy about, there are parts we love. Some of the body parts we hated in the beginning are the ones we wound up loving most at the other end of it. When all was said and done, we had a better appreciation for what makes us special and beautiful!
In my quest to own my sexy, I have been doing little secret photo shoots of myself recently. Nobody knows about them, not even my closest friends. Well, until today anyway… They aren’t full blown with lights or anything like that, just me and the camera and a self-timer. Sometimes, I’ll just do selfies with my phone. There is one super secret I-phone selfie of me in bed with a full nipple popping out. It’s hot. Like, really hot. I keep it on my phone just for moments when I don’t feel all that attractive. In those times, I can go to that picture and think. “Damn girl!”.
I am going to share a couple of the tamer ones with you. I went back and forth on whether to include any of them here numerous times. Because in all honesty, they are just for me and are a way for me to figure all this shit out. As a photographer, it seems easier to see it in a photograph than in the mirror. I have been taking sexy photos of people for decades. I can look at a photograph and see the beauty, appreciate the lines and think. “Yeah, that is one sexy shot”. That the person in the photograph is me is sometimes hard to wrap my head around, but there I am, ready for an 8×10 glossy looking hot and feeling sexy. You can’t deny it when its right there in a photograph.
Like all photo shoots, there are some bad pictures. Some are downright hideous. I’m like “Ooooh sister… Don’t ever get in that position again! Under any circumstances!” For some reason I tend to gravitate toward those pictures. I’ll think, “That’s what I really look like, and the good ones are just a fluke”. But the reality is that both the good ones and the “delete forever” ones are me. Yin & yang, right? But I am learning about myself and maneuvering the waters of my new body.
It’s not all about body and beauty perception though. I worry about how people view me from the inside too. As I open myself up to people who have known me since before I ever shed a pound or to new people when they find out that I have lost that much weight, I feel like they handle me with a little extra care. Sometimes I feel like they think I must be broken a little bit inside to have had to make such a big physical transformation or that all the residual shit from 140 pounds ago is still lurking under the surface. Maybe that’s why I don’t like it when people freak out about it. There is this weird kind of condolence in it that’s hard to explain. Like there is this underlying “You poor thing, what you must have been through” kind of vibe. People go through all kinds of shit and do all kinds of amazing things. All I did was the same thing millions of people before me have done. I took control of my life.
I wish there was a graceful way to tell people that with every pound I lost physically, I lost a pound emotionally. My emotional issues are as gone as those pounds. All you need are eyes to see that the weight is gone, but it’s not so easy for people to see that the emotional baggage is too. I didn’t spend a year and a half just working on getting into a pair of skinny jeans. This wasn’t a journey to be hot. This was about fixing myself from the inside out. When I say I want to loose more, its not just pounds. There are still plenty of demons in my closet that I need to battle, but they aren’t the overwhelming monsters they once were.
They say it isn’t about the destination, it’s the journey and I believe that, but having a destination to get to is an important piece of the puzzle. I know what my destination is in this particular situation. I want to love myself so that someone else can love me as much as I do.
Why is that so hard for people to admit? Isn’t that what everyone wants, to love and to be loved? Don’t we all want to feel attractive and desirable? I do. These are not things I could say out loud two years ago. I didn’t feel worthy then. Today is a different story. Today I feel completely deserving of love and desire. And I believe it so strongly that I actually cried when I wrote that sentence. “Today I feel completely deserving of love and desire.” ~
My journey isn’t complete. There is still a road in front of me, but holy hell, I just posted photos of myself in lingerie on the internet for all of the world to see and told you about my secret nipple pic. That means something. At least to me it does. Go ahead, take in my sexy, I’m not scared. I’m not perfect, but I am learning to accept and believe that I am beautiful. And as I start to believe that, other people do too. There is that perception theme again. What we perceive to be true, others will as well.
Those times when I have an awkward moment socially or have trouble navigating certain situations, like it taking me a little longer to recognize if someone is flirting or weirding out at a compliment or not knowing how to let someone open a door are becoming fewer and farther between. I’m learning to bat my lashes and to say “thank you” and wiggle my hips just right when I walk through a room. I’m remembering what it is to be a female and it feels amazing! The precipice is just around the corner. I can see it just up ahead and I can’t wait to grab someone’s hand and jump off of it! ~ GERONIMO!!!
I think its pretty obvious to anyone who is starting to follow this blog that most of these ramblings are just me working through my own changes, putting words to my thoughts. If I were a songwriter, I would have one hell of an album on my hands, but alas, I think and see in pictures. Poetry is not my strong suit.
Again, I really want to thank all of you. The feedback on the first two blogs has been overwhelming and inspiring. My hope is that by wading through these waters publicly, I can maybe help someone else struggling with the same issues. I also hope that all of you, men & women alike will take a moment this week to put a little “Damn girl!” on your phone. I promise it will put a little wiggle in your walk!