“I hate having my picture taken. I hate when someone wants to take my photo. I hate to see it posted on social media. None of the photos make me look as young as I feel or as thin as I think I should be.”
Do those thoughts go through your head? They sure go through mine more often than I like to admit. What is it about our body image that we just struggle on a daily basis to accept?
For those of you who do not know me personally, I am 70 years old. I don’t know how that happened because last night I was just 35, and today I woke up and I am 70! Yikes! Where did the time go?
We are bombarded by the media to look like we have no fat, no wrinkles, no blemishes, and no whatever else we shouldn’t look like according to some advertising agency out there who we think we should believe.
All of this really woke me up recently when I wanted to take some photos at a party I was hosting, and one of my guests freaked out. She did not want her photo taken. She did not want her photo posted anywhere on social media. This person could have been my mom years ago. My mother hated her photo taken. She was overweight most of her adult life, and over the years her weight fluctuated from slightly overweight to really overweight. The sad thing is that I have very few photos of my mom from my childhood. She hated the way she
looked, so she either refused to get her photo taken, or she tore herself out of the photo.
That really struck me. I have never been too thin, but I have been all over the place being overweight. I see some photos of me and I cringe. Now it is not only the weight. I now see photos, and I see the lines and creases, and all the aging and sagging that has joined me over the years. My chest just too big, so I hate photos of the giant shelf on the front of my body, not counting the spare tires that I blame for giving birth to four children, and several abdominal surgeries.
I am working very hard to love my body just the way it is. It’s far from perfect, but it is alive. Not only it is alive, I have great blood pressure. I don’t have any (knock on wood!) age related or weight related diseases. The only prescription medications I take and have ever taken consistently are the eye drops for my dry eyes. I am healthy. I should be celebrating that, rather than worrying what someone thinks of how my body looks.
I have yo-yo dieted all my life. I was pretty much sedentary for the first 60 years of my life, and the last few years, I found I love getting outside and hiking for miles. I like how my body feels when I do this—how much more energy I have, and how my systems seem to work better. The weight doesn’t drop off, like it does for others doing this, but I feel good.
I don’t want my kids and grandkids to say they have no photos to remember me by. I think they love me regardless of a few bulges here and there. Now when my photo is taken, I silently pray that they won’t post it on social media, but if they do, I will have to accept it. It is what I look like after all, even though I picture myself looking about 95% better than the photo—oh, I love my imagination!
So, the next time someone points the camera your way, just smile. Know you are making memories, and that seems to be more important than what is chatting away in our brains telling us we are not good enough, not pretty enough, not skinny enough.