The Artist Formerly Known as B.A.
Consequently, I don't like all of you looking at pictures of myself.
Because these days, those photos tell me things I don't like to hear.
Not that I'm not pretty.
Pretty is as pretty does.
Pretty is fleeting and unimportant.
I was raised in a household where pretty was a way to make a living and a way to have fun; not a means of defining one's self. Both of my parents made sure that all three of us girls had a sense of worth that was independant of our physical attributes.
So though I've always known that I'm not a conventional beauty, I appreciate my assets and I don't lament my lack of cookie cutter features.
Okay, okay...maybe once or twice I have fantasized about a slender, aqualine nose. Maybe once or twice, I used my birthday wishes to wish for a nose like Elizabeth Montgomery's. And maybe, in the eighties, I might have played a little fast and loose with the contouring techniques.
But aside from that...not being a legendary beauty has not been a great tragedy in my life.
I like to feel beautiful of course. What women doesn't? There are days that I feel like the most beautiful woman on the planet. This is due in large part to my husband, who tells me in word and deed, that I am beautiful to him.
He has done so when I was a size 8. He has done so when I was a size 22. He has meant it just as much the latter as the former. Perhaps more.
So why the reluctance to have my picture taken?
Because the images that I see do not match the way that I feel. The way that think. The way that I move and breathe and exist. I do not want to think of myself as a fat woman, because the skin I wear does not feel like that of a fat woman. Except when I have to unzip it to sit down.
Pictures are irrefutable proof of that. Pictures don't allow me to hide from myself.
And pictures tell me that once again, I've allowed apathy and impotence to triumph over strength and empowerment. Six months ago, the pictures told a much different story, you see.
And I suppose too, that there is that secret, stabbing fear that all fat people experience...that you will think less of me as a person, a writer, a human being if you can see for yourself who and what I am.
What I look like does not summarize me as a person.
I know that. Most of the time.
But when I see a picture of myself, just for an instant, I see a person I am ashamed of. If I don't look, I don't have to confront that shame. And I suppose a part of me has always thought that if I don't allow you to look, then you can't disapprove and you won't judge. You will still admire me in your ignorance of who I really am.
I could post a picture of myself from 2005, when I lost 60 pounds. I could pretend that I haven't allowed it to come creeping back, pound by agonizing pound.
But fuck that. This is me. As I am. Today. Not six months ago. Not fifteen years ago.
I am 38 years old. I am currently a size 16. At the moment, I have approximately six chins. You can't see it, but my ass, though pleasingly shaped, has it's own zip code.
Ha. Ya snooze. Ya lose. What? You didn't expect me to LEAVE it up there didja? Look, there is little enough mystery in life. Let's enjoy it where we can find it, shall we?