Lesson Five: Your So VainI remember being thirteen and wearing a bikini to a water park with my cousins. I had developed early and while I was still thin, my curvy hips and full breasts made me feel fat, and back then I naturally assumed fat was a bad thing.
One of my much older cousins caught my self deprecation and told me, "If you've got it, flaunt it," and for the briefest of times it became my mantra to get me through periods of low self esteem. Eventually, and unfortunately, the weight added on in buckets and for some reason I assumed that my mantra no longer applied. I could not flaunt it, because somewhere along the way of putting on the pounds, I had lost whatever it was that made it acceptable for me to flaunt.
There were moments here and there. When I'd catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and think, "Damn, you look good!" And I'd strut my stuff, even if my stuff was only seen by my husband. I walked tall, moved to the beat of a song in my head and I'd know that I looked amazing. So amazing, that I'd tell my husband to take a picture of me so I could remember the moment.
And then the bubble burst when I'd see myself at an "unflattering angle" or in bad lighting. I would go back into self hate mode and scold myself for thinking that a fat girl could flaunt.
Thankfully though, I began forcing myself to take photos more often. Writing Love, Yourself put me on a schedule. Oh, I didn't feel like brushing my hair and taking a bunch of selfies? Well, too bad because I have a blog post due in a week that requires one. Get off your ass Jia!
Since beginning Love, Yourself, I have taken (or had taken) and not deleted, over 550 pictures of myself. Professional photo shoots, Christmas cards, selfies, makeup looks, outfits, full face of makeup or naked face, bad hair days and sick days. Days where I've been at the top and others when I've felt terrible. I've looked heavier in some and not others (and since I've stayed roughly within fifteen pounds of the same weight over the last three years, it clearly doesn't matter).
And what's crazy is that photos I took a year or more ago that I hated, I actually like now. Because self perception changes. Things that bothered me back then (like my weight) don't bother me so much now. Sure I still have bad days, bad angles and bad lighting, but I'm learning about them when it comes to photography. And if I don't like how I look in a picture, I can always delete it.
Unfortunately for the rest of the world I can't hide my bad angles, if that's what they really are. I can't delete the image that others see of me when I'm out there, face to face. But that won't stop me from going out there. It won't stop me from trying to change their perception of me either.
I will not be deleted.
Assignment Five:Be vain and take a photo of yourself. Take a million of photos of yourself!
These are just a few over the last year. They were taken by others and by me. They are full body and are just face. Some make me look bigger than I am, some make me look smaller than I am. My hair is red, brown, pink, or purple, long or short, real or wig. Most made it to the blog, some did not. They are sweet, vulnerable, sassy, spunky, awkward, sexy, and fun.
It's just me.