Monday, February 7, 2011

You see that picture up there on the left?  It's a lie.  Don't believe it.  She's a cutie with her heart shaped face, isn't she.  Only problem is, she isn't me.  Well, she's me, but she's the Facebook version of me.  Ladies, you know what I'm talking about.

Online social networking has made us a country of liars. Every heavy woman knows how to take the perfect picture of herself. It's all about lighting, camera angles, and strategic poses. You hold the camera high, tilt your head, smile beguilingly, and suddenly, you're a thin(ner) knockout!  You're gorgeous!  You're ALMOST UNRECOGNIZABLE!

Double chin? Never heard of it! Square shaped jawline? Not me!  Fat? Who's fat?  I'm certainly not.  The camera doesn't lie, now, does it?

Oh, but it does.  The picture below is one of my favorites.  I took it with my camera phone sometime last year.  What you don't get to see are all the rejected shots I deleted before finally getting this one perfect picture...all the ones that showed a jawline much less defined than that one...the ones that didn't use a strategic semi-profile angle to hide the rest of my face...the ones that gave you a real idea of how much broader my shoulders are when one's not being bumped forward so the arm it's attached to can take the picture.


And then there's this gem.  I love this picture because that was a great day, and this man is a great man.  But really, I love it because I look thinner than I am.  I look petite, demure, cute, small.  I can justify the angle to myself, saying that Richard's 6 foot frame required me to hold the camera that high, but I know the truth.  Pictures that show my real face are purely accidents.


Like this one.  Switch from one to the other and you're liable to think I was stung by a really big bee.  Where did all that cheek come from?  What happened to cute and small?  Who the heck is this and why is she wearing Sarah's clothes?!  Has Mahalo been notified?


I'm not above using my children as well positioned camouflage, either.  See how Ev's hair hides one side of my chubby face while Miriam's hides the other?  Sweet girls.  They're so good to their mom when she crouches low behind them.  I gave them life and they give me cheekbones and a lovely chin.


But what happens when that isn't an option?  Hey, Evelyn!  Your hair is supposed to be covering something!  What gives!  Where are my cheekbones? What happened to my chin?


But the thing is, none of these pictures is me. Not the cutie above the blog. Not the petite creature snuggling her husband. Not the mom who forgot to think twice about having her husband take her picture without letting her hide behind someone first.

When I think of who I am, it's not the person you see in the pictures. I'm much, much more than that. Strategic angles or unflattering fatness...I am Sarah, and I like Sarah. If I allow myself to become defined by what you see in a picture, then I'll never be who you think I am, because let's face it, I'm not going to stop doing everything I can to make myself look good in a photo.

If I define myself by what you see in real life, well, then I'm just one more fat woman in a crowd of fat women, and even if I lose 100 pounds, I will still be a fat woman in my mind. I'd much rather be Sarah, fat or thin, 230 or 130, because Sarah is pretty cool. Sarah has swagger. Sarah's a lot of fun.




beanditch said...

I truly loved this, but I can't see/hear the word beguiling without thinking of The Nanny. Thanks a lot! ;)

Phogles said...

Thank you for putting this into words. I need it, and so does everybody who has ever tried to hide behind someone else in a photograph.

Anna said...

I know what you mean. But I'll tell you a secret. When I lost 50 pounds and got down to 180, I looked like ME! I looked like myself. You know, how I always thought I looked. I could actually look at me, and see me. I no longer needed to avoid direct mirror contact and could see a picture of myself and know that was me. It was really great, feeling like myself inside and out. Can't wait to be there again.