A Photo.

Rachel Cornellier (of Our Family Balance) is an incredible Photographer.
I mean.
Ridiculous.

If I didn't feel ridiculous sharing copious amounts of photos of her kids, I would.
Because she takes incredible photos.

And I think about these beautiful kids.
Sam and Sabrina.
Who will grow up with great images captured of their childhood.
And awesome memories too.

But.
For me.
Looking at photographs of myself is...


Hard.
Painful?
Sad.

There is some emotion here that I'm not supposed to feel.
But I do.

Why does looking at photos of myself feel ugly?
Is ugly an emotion?

And am I saying ugly but do I really mean shame?
Does wondering all of this MAKE me crazy?

Or just really body dysmorphic?
Because you see.

When you look at these pictures.
You notice my smile.
Right?
The joy.
The love.

But you don't see the: The lie.
Is that the shame?

The story I tried so desperately to tell you and myself.
That I was happy.
That I am happy.
Told so many times, I hoped I believed it.
Can Dance.  I adore you and this trip to Martha's Vineyard!  Let's repeat soon!
And Miss Emma!  Adore!
And trying to look pretty clothes.
And I'm not a mess poses.
Body Dysmorphia is part of it.
And feeling feelings is another part.

And feeling feelings is and being okay with feeling those feelings is something I work on DAILY.
And therapeutically.
And meditationally.

But it's not "fixed".
Or "better".
Or "repaired".
Or "healed".
Or "okay".

It's a really broken piece of me.
That I will take a lot of time and give a lot of self work to make better, improve, let go, change, embrace.  Something?

To learn more about BDD, you can head over to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA).

Mine manifests in a lot of ways.
There is exactly one pair of Reebok capris that I can stand to look at my upper thigh in.

I wore them for 9 months straight.
And when I wasn't wearing them.
I'd have meltdowns.

Melt.
Downs.

I am a size 4/6.
But I see a size 24/26.

I know that's the real truth that no one wants to talk about.
I'm huge.

And my arms.
My flabidasical arms.
And my hunchback.
My Notre Dame worthy hunchback.
And my underboobs.
Oh, the underboob.

But.
Mostly, I obsessed about the upper thigh.
And that little jiggly piece of skin that won't go away.

And I think crazy thinks.
Like.
Even when they're covered, I think you're staring at them.
Wondering why I even go out in public with upper thighs like that.

And even crazier thinks.
Like.
If you were me, just have those legs removed.
Because then you wouldn't have to think the bad thinks.

Before we go any crazier.
You know I'm in therapy, right?

Because.
A lot of these thinks.
Are sticker thinks.
And no matter how hard I try to unstick them.
They're stuck.

And you can pay me 1,001 compliments.
They're still stuck.
And you can tell me 100 times again, that you think I'm pretty.
Or stunning.
Or brave.
Or beautiful.

And I hear, "You're pretty for someone with massively jiggly thighs."
"And you're brave to go out in the world with a hunchback like that."

And the inside adult me knows that's crazy.
But the little girl with BDD who never really grew up.
Well, she's convinced everyone is just being nice.

And why exactly do I feel the need to open up about my BDD today?
Well.
Part of it, is trying to let go of the shame.

And the other part is Steph Stevens Photography.


Steph offered to take photos.
And no matter how uncomfortable it made me.
I wanted to do it.
So we did.

And while I SEE me in these photos.
I think the uncomfortable not real thinks.
That I'm still huge.
And uncomfortable in this skin.
And that the first thing you think when you see them is, Why would this ugly girl, with massively jiggly thighs, have her photo taken?

Or, "Look at her fat face?"
Or, "I can't even look..."

Somewhere inside, I know not all of you are thinking that.
(I hope.)

But I worry.
As I often do.
That sharing these photos tells a different story.

That everything, on the other-side of rapid and mass weight loss, is roses and sunshine.
And that's not real life for me.

I slipped into the size small dress.
From the juniors department of Walmart.
And felt like it was a size XXXXL.
And that every lump.
And bump.
Told the true story.

That I am huge.

So.

Letting Steph even take these photos.
Was a VICTORY.
INSERT VICTORY DANCE FOOTAGE.
:)

Looking at them is like immersion therapy, too.
And trying to redirect those thinks.
That's a victory, too.

And sharing my BDD with you.
And these photos with you, my beautiful matterers.
That's victory times 2.

So.

Today.
Right now.
I stand in those victories, instead of my disorder.
And will work on more victories.
Tomorrow.
And the next day.
And the day after that.

And Jess, PLANK.
:)


Beautiful friend.
Thank you for sharing your home as a location.
And your passion and skill as a photographer.

It truly was a magical day.

10 comments:

  1. Sorry to hear the struggles u r facing. I really hope things will turn around for u. I can somewhat relate to ur struggles. I had lipo, tummy tuck, breast lift and augmentation done because I was unhappy with I was dealing with. Still waiting for my.end results but I can tell u, it's a lot better than before! Have u thought about plastic surgery for ur thighs? Well best of luck to u!

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  2. I totally understand what you are saying... I've gained lots of weight in my past, lost it, gained it back, lost it all again and then gain even more, way more than I initially had to lose... and wait... why did I start gaining weight to begin with? Oh yes because my metabolism slowed down when I was 17, 135 pounds, size 4 and started taking pills to lose weight which just ruined me... I didn't care about the "process" I just wanted to lose it all... I would take pills, get shots (yes, let actual needles, go in the fatty regions, hundreds of times) to make "IT" all go away... the mystery was that even when people told me "you need to stop, you are way to skinny" I still saw the "obesity" ... they were missing it somehow... but it was there! And then I realized I had a "FAT BRAIN" Lol... I now know that they were right and I am the one who is wrong... I am the one who sees something different than what everybody else sees... even reading your post about BDD I thought "well, I don't think I have BDD, that's for people who are pretty but they can't see it... that's not my case... I am just being realistic" and then I thought "wait, maybe the previous thought just confirms that I might have a case of BDD" who knows... whether diagnosed or not I know that I focus too much on the things I don't like about myself, the lopsided boobs, the protuberant stomach, the lack of hips, the fact that I look like a candied apple because from my hips down I am a medium/small size but once you get to my stomach/waist and up I am a large/extra large" the big cheeks, the weird way I smile and shows more gums than teeth... and I could just go on and on... I know I am pretty, I actually KNOW it... (LOL! sounds even wrong that I say it) but I know that even when I am not beautiful I am not "hard to look at" either... but all my defects pop up in exaggerated ways! Like when someone makes a cartoon and just enhances the predominant features of the "model"... -sigh- This is your blog and it's all about you... I don't share about myself to get the attention focused on me or anything like that... but just to say "I understand, I do" and I know that me, saying "you're beautiful" doesn't "fix it" or "makes it go away" but... YOU ARE.

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    Replies
    1. I love.
      EVERYTHING.
      About this comment.
      EVERYTHING.
      From the honesty.
      And the relating.
      To the hard and real.
      Realizing I am not alone.
      Is perhaps the most free I can be.
      I know you're GORGEOUS, too.
      Inside and OUTSIDE.
      Beautiful words from a beautiful lady! :)

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  3. Excellent blog as always. I can soooooo relate. I look in the mirror and see that 328 pound girl in a size 28 - no matter I lost 170 and in size 6-8. I look at my saggy elephant skin on my legs. I see my flabby arms, I see my turkey waddle. Like you, I could be told a thousand times......You look amazing. You've done such an awesome job. Good work. On the outside I smile and say thank you (as I've learned at least to do that), but on the inside I'm like: but you don't know I've gained back 15 pounds, but you don't see my elephant legs or maybe you do but just are not saying anything, but I haven't completed my job as I'm not at the goal weight that the doctor's gave me."
    Well I think you understand. All this to say to you. Thank you for being so open about your struggle. Thank you ESPECIALLY for the link to the BDD as I've never known that there was a term for me not accepting compliments except with the "yeah but..." And I hope you do hear and take in this compliment....."YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, YOU ARE AMAZING, YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION". Thank you for sharing your journey. Diane

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    Replies
    1. Oh Diane,
      Thanks for your kind words.
      And relating.
      And your honesty.
      And sharing YOUR story.
      TOGETHER.
      We Matter.

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  4. Jami, you inspire me EVERY day! Your honesty, your laugh, your light, is a joy to witness. I'll have to check out the BDD info, as I sort of feel the opposite - I see pictures of me and think I can't possibly be as big in real life as those pictures make me look. It's all a process (a long....long process). But we are all putting each foot forward each and every day. BDD, demons, negative self image - all of you be damned! No matter what size, I'm gorgeous! I'm smart! I'm successful! You know what Jami? So are you.

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    Replies
    1. Kind words, Denise, such kind words.
      BDD is real.
      And is a real piece of my negative thinks.

      It's all a process...
      This process of being human.

      And real.
      And authentic.
      And I'll keep working on it.

      If you will :)

      Because we are smart.
      And gorgeous.
      And kind.
      And hopeful :).

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