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Why You Won't See My Picture Anytime Soon

Friday, March 12, 2010

I hate taking pictures. A forced photo is the best way to make me cry.

I don't remember when I started thinking like this. But, if I had to guess, I would say that it was during my pre-teen years, when my father started criticizing my weight.

"No man will ever want you," he said.

But as the years went by, that was far from the truth. I went from being a chubster to a very curvy, size 10 teenager, whose height and fashion sense hid the weight well. I also was a very shy one, who willingly stood in the shadow of my beautiful, outgoing (and size 4) friends. I relied on those girls on everything, from making me laugh, to ditching school, to meeting guys.

And through the years, we have hundreds of pictures together. I loved taking photos.

I appear in three.

Fast-forward to now. I'm a 22-year old, unemployed (sigh) college graduate, who's been dieting since I was 18. My first diet was very successful. I even started taking pictures of myself. But even my size 6 photos rarely made it to Facebook.

I love the positivity and honesty I see in SparkPeople. I am inspired by the stories you tell me, and I am offering my support as much as you are giving me yours. But I cannot, cannot post a photo of myself yet.

I hope you're not hurt, annoyed, or offended at my actions. I hope that you understand that simply creating a profile and posting my weight are big steps in my mental schema. Even putting my name is a no-no for me. I have such low confidence, and a deep fear of failure, that I am terrified of not succeeding and someone pointing that out to me. And the fact that my name is pretty unique (or at least the spelling) doesn't make it any easier.

But I promise that I will soon. Once I lose the first 50 pounds, I will finally be proud enough to show you where I am in my lifelong journey. And next Monday, March 15, I will make my sister take pictures of me. I will save those pictures on my computer, and when I finally hit that 50 pound mark, I am going to share it with my fellow Sparkers :-) So you can see firsthand how far I've come.

But for now, I can only offer you my support and the truth.

I know that my weight isn't the only reason that I hate taking photos. I view myself differently than I view others. I'm very critical of myself, to the point that my loved ones notice it. Without a doubt, I believe everything my father said when I was younger, and unfortunately, my self-confidence relies almost entirely on my looks.

I love my father very dearly, and I'm blessed to have him in my life. But I urge all men out to watch how they treat their daughters, because I'm sure that my father has no idea that 12 years later, his daughter is still struggling to take a picture without bursting in tears.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • MADDIE10281
    Excellent blog, i am following in your footsteps. Will post my first picture after I have lost 50 pounds also. God Bless You for having a beautiful transparent heart.
    2647 days ago
    Wow, powerful blog post for me. My Dad never criticized me in that way however he never did anything to me. He never told me he loved me, not when he was sober anyway. I still have a hard time accepting love from my husband. Something I have been working on, but it is still hard. I have an amazing husband, he is patient with me. We have two daughters, ages 10 and 8. I always tell him to make sure he compliments them, tells them he loves them all the time. And thankfully he understands how important that is, and does both everyday.
    2686 days ago
    You are in the right place. Spark people is a wonderful group of supporting each other people. You will find friends, and all sorts of helpful information from people that are in the same boat with the same problems. Good luck on this great journey.
    2877 days ago
    I understand completely. One (of many) motivators for me was a series of pictures various members of my family posted, rather innocently, to Facebook. I had been trying to avoid having my picture taken for a long time - denial is a strong motivator. I don't think they knew (or know today) how much those pictures hurt, but they were a kick in the butt.

    As a result, I didn't post any pictures of me here on SP until I had lost 50 pounds. I even posted a couple of those photos from Facebook here as "before" pictures, but I didn't post the worst ones. Which reminds me, I should probably post a couple more recent ones - the guy in the photos is 27 pounds heavier than the guy posting this blog comment!
    2887 days ago
    I remember once my bestfriend had someone take a picture of the two of us... At the time, I put up with it because I had dressed up for Halloween and was feeling pretty. After I saw the picture, I was so ashamed because I was so LARGE. I don't remember the exact conversation between my friend and I, but it did end with me ripping the photo to shreds. It seems like something I should feel bad about, but I just remember thinking I needed to keep anyone else from ever seeing the picture AT ALL COSTS.
    2898 days ago
  • BUGGIN8919
    I understand... you have the support of tons of people here... and you just take it one meal at a time you know.... I am very photogenic... from the shoulders up... browsing through my pictures I have realized that all pictures taken are shoulders up.... If it was a full body pic I was always standing behind my friends... So it will take sometime.. but know that you have the support of fellow sparkers...
    2898 days ago
    Oh, Soror, I am so sorry to hear you hate to take pictures, soon you feel comfortable enough to take pictures in all your pink and green! We will be here for you when you are ready!
    2900 days ago
    soon, when you reach your goals you'll love taking pics of urself :)
    2900 days ago
    i understand how you feel. i wish you the best of luck!
    2900 days ago
    So very glad you are here with us VIRGOGURL4...I've found going through the steps to build a healthier lifestyle have included many valuable lessons touching more than just my physical size...I hope you find the same is true on your journey...You are beautiful and I hope you can see that through your blog with so much to offer and deserving of the best in return! emoticon emoticon and more emoticon
    2900 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/12/2010 7:17:49 PM
    You are already beautiful. And you are so wise. I adored my Dad, but he had no idea how hurtful some of his comments were. Daddies, tell your baby girls how precious they are.
    2900 days ago
    I really liked your blog. I think you should do what's most comfortable for you and I think the more time you spend on Spark, you'll realize how accepting of a community it is. I look forward to reading more.
    2900 days ago
  • MAGNORK517
    I can so relate. I have been taking digital pictures since I had my first child 7 years ago, and now have more than 10,000 pictures. I appear in less than 20 of them. This is something that really saddens me, as I think- what if something ever happened to me, my kids wouldn't even have a picture to remember me by. I didn't mind posting my pics here on SP, only because everyone is a stranger.

    This past xmas I managed to get a picture of me with my girls (on my spark page)-however, they are covering me up as much as possible ! I am addicted to Facebook, have been on it for 4 years now, and have NEVER posted my picture. It's usually, a sunset, my kids, anything but me. One of the first things I plan to do when I get under 200 lbs is post my pic on facebook for all to see.
    2900 days ago
    I'm so proud of you for asking your sister to take photos of you, for you. This journey isn't about anyone else but you and you don't owe it to anyone to show photos until you're ready. I wish I had taken real before photos, instead of having to sort through literally thousands of photos to find a few of myself. It's really helpful to be able to look back to those before photos to see the changes you've made, because in my experience, my mind still plays tricks with my perception of myself, whereas the photos really show my progress.
    2900 days ago
    Virgogurl, I feel ya. I don't think anyone here would blame you for the feelings you have. We're all here because we want to make a change. I admire your candid explanation, and your commitment to change your view of yourself.

    I used to suffer from low self esteem. I had no willpower, and would defeat myself before I tried anything. The important thing to remember is that you're not alone (I know a lot of people who won't take pictures), and you have the strength to do this. Forgive yourself for any slips and set backs, because that forgiveness will allow you to move on. It also helps to be working towards a goal, which you are already doing, because you're here on spark!

    One of the things that helped my self esteem was re-affirming my own self worth on a daily basis. Make a list of everything you love about yourself. Add to it anytime you think of anything. These could be physical or personality traits. The important thing, is that these are things about yourself you don't want to change. Trust me, they are there, you just have to look past what you see as flaws. I hung mine on my mirror, so that instead of seeing my bleary eyed face and bed hair every morning when I brushed my teeth, I read that list instead.
    2900 days ago
    Oh boy can I relate. When I was about 8 or 9 I was chubby and my dad gave me a girdle to wear can you imagine. He called me a little rolly polly and said I waddled down the street. It hurt me sooo bad. Than like you when I hit my teens I was tall and slender. I never felt that way though I have always been on the chase for a model like body.

    You are so right Fathers should be very careful what they say to their daughters.

    I will look forward to your progress and your liberation from these past hurts.
    2900 days ago
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