We're Not 'Too Fat' for Pictures
I nearly left this earth with no physical evidence of the goofy, wide open and loud love I have for my life, my husband, my family and friends. I haven't had professional pictures done since our wedding in 2006... always waiting for this elusive moment where I would be thin enough (pretty enough) to have such a permanent record of me. Because, you know, HEAVEN FORBID there be any proof that I look the way I actually look.
I still assent to having my picture taken, but like her, I too am pining for "this elusive moment where I could be thin enough (pretty enough) to have such a permanent record of me." And it is an "elusive moment." Because, as I sit here reflecting, I've realized that even when I was thinner, I was critical of my photographed self.
It seems, we all are. Think of the heart-strings-tugging Dove ad, where women being drawn by a sketch artist paid far more attention to their own flaws than anyone else. A survey by Dove found women begin becoming camera-shy between the ages of 11 and 20. Online, half of women have de-tagged, deleted, or removed a photo of themselves.
Porter goes on to encourage us with:
Can we agree to put the value of family over the value of fat? Can we just accept that the weight you've been trying to lose for 5 years might actually just be a part of what you look like . . . and that if this magical day does come when you're acceptably thin you'll STILL regret not having any pictures of you with your kids from ages 5 – 10? ... Can we acknowledge that the insecurities we have in our heads will never be a part of how our children, husbands, and friends see us? And if you're thinking that high school friend on Facebook will say to herself ("wow she has gained weight") then . . . newsflash you DID. You gained weight…. The truth is you've gained a lot of other things too (a career, a family, some kids, a house…).
Indeed, the truth she speaks is freeing. We age. Many of us gain fuller faces and bellies. Some of us bald. Our hair turns gray. These are all signs pointing to the reality that outwardly we are "wasting away" as the apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 2:16
Maybe when I see those iconic clothes on the hanger and pine for a younger version of my body, what I am really lamenting is my mortality. I see myself in pictures and am reminded that although my soul feels younger and more alive than ever—the second half of 2 Corinthians 2:16 tells us we are being "renewed day by day"—and although I am becoming more and more a child of the kingdom, my youthful vigor, body, and looks are fading. Inwardly I grow young; outwardly I grow old. Perhaps I am not yet fully reconciled to that reality.
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