This weekend Iâ€™ve eagerly awaited the arrival of our annual family photos. This year we opted to do them inside our new home, so Iâ€™ve been dying to see how they turn out.
Iâ€™ve also been dreading the new photos. Itâ€™s no secret that Iâ€™ve gained almost 20 pounds since the onset of the pandemic, but that doesnâ€™t mean itâ€™s any easier to see, especially in our family photos.
I know itâ€™s been hard on everyone, and a lot of people have gained weight. I know that I should love myself no matter what. I hear others say that Iâ€™m beautiful no matter what, but my anxiety and eating disorders speak louder. They always have.
Because we just moved in, a couple of our bathrooms donâ€™t have mirrors hung yet. At first it was annoying but now Iâ€™m relieved I donâ€™t have to look in the mirror. It doesnâ€™t matter how much positive self talk I spew â€” I just donâ€™t like what I see. My weight is tied to my confidence, and sadly, my self worth. Right now, it feels like Iâ€™m worth nothing.
The family photos will just confirm what Iâ€™ve already been telling myself: Iâ€™m ugly, fat and unworthy.
Except, hereâ€™s the thing â€” my daughter is watching. And listening. If I admit these truths aloud, she will for sure hear them. And my voice will become her inner voice. My actions will becomes hers as well, and Iâ€™ll be damned if she cultivates this ugly self-hate thatâ€™s just rotting my worth and self-esteem.
Iâ€™ve talked about this before, many times. I have to change the way I talk to myself, treat myself. Iâ€™m raising kids, but really my goalâ€” and what all our goals should be â€” is to raise healthy adults. I donâ€™t know much about that, but I have my missteps to guide me.
The first thing Iâ€™m going to do is post the family photos â€” no matter what they look like. Iâ€™ll frame a couple in my house, not just because Iâ€™m trying to set a good example, but because damn, thatâ€™s what I look like now. This is what my family looks like after nine months of a deadly pandemic. We have survived, and even if I survived in a way that led to tighter clothes and an expanding waistline, Iâ€™ve survived. And thatâ€™s all that matters.
I want to thank Jennifer Stewart for capturing out family in our new loving home. I want to thank my body for supporting me during this time. I want to say that I do love myself and Iâ€™ll try harder to love it no matter my size. They say the camera adds 10 pounds, but maybe itâ€™s time I stopped buying into that.
That I stop buying into diet culture and equating being then to being happy. I need to be happy now, instead of waiting until Iâ€™m a certain weight. Fuck that.
Iâ€™m going to be happy now, because both my daughter and son are watching. And thatâ€™s OK that theyâ€™re watching â€” itâ€™s OK that they see me struggle, and even when Iâ€™m sad, but theyâ€™ll also see the fight in me, the determination and my grit. Iâ€™m all for them seeing me as human, because I am â€” just a perfectly imperfect human. Thatâ€™s all we can be.
Edit: Our family photos were not available at the time of publication. I will add them in once I receive them.