On Wearing the Shorts (or Sleeveless Top, or Bikini) and Taking the Picture
This photo was taken over Memorial Day weekend, when my brother was in town to play at a lacrosse tournament.
Our family has had a lacrosse-filled Memorial Day weekend since I was a freshman in high school (when we moved back north, the first time). And yet, you'd have no idea I was there for most of them.
I spent years dodging cameras, worrying about what I'd eat (at a TAILGATE, where there are like, 4 options), readjusting my clothing, seeing if people were sneaking glances at my body or monitoring what I put on my plate or how often I realized half a cheeseburger (no bun) and a leaf of lettuce and coffee to curb my appetite wasn't enough for 14h in the heat (imagine that!).
Guess how much fun I had? Guess how relaxed I felt, during a time dedicated to relaxation?
IF YOU SAID NOT VERY (MUCH), YOU'D BE RIGHT.
I've gained a bit of weight over the last year of my life, and, in the past, this would have meant I avoided full-body shots like this like the bubonic plague. I would have been super embarassed, rushed over to zoom in on myself, find everything I hated, and deleted the photo (hearing the protestations of my father claiming it was fine, but my inner middle school girl envisioning everyone picking it apart to the degree I had, leaving me always the uncool girl, because I am not (and have never been) a size 4).
We ALL have some internalized fatphobia going on. How could we not? We're swimming in this soup, and it's everywhere we turn. It's worth digging into, to examine the ways we're showing up in our bodies, in conversation, and in relationship with other people whose bodies may (or may not) look like ours.
Photos provide a tremendous opportunity to explore our thoughts on our bodies (and all bodies) and unpack them a bit.
My entire experience changed when I realized I could just...come to the event.
I didn't have to be perfect, to earn the right to eat, to present myself in any way I didn't want to in order to engage in weekend activities (or, if people weren't accepting of me because of my body, I could realize that wasn't about me at all, but about some hyper-prevalent fatphobic, classist, ableist beliefs many of us tend to hold, at least for some time). I could calm down (and, wouldn't you know, I actually started having fun...and understanding lacrosse).
I hope, this summer, whatever your traditions, you show up, exactly as you are, in all the fullness and wonder you hold.
I hope you let yourself enjoy things.
I hope you let yourself feel the feelings, and swiftly understand that very rarely are they about your body; they're often about feelings of unworthiness, about interpersonal and societal pressures, about control, about competition, about relationships, about a million other things that aren't your physical being.
I hope you stop punishing your body for doing what bodies do.
Whatever you're doing this weekend, let the wind blow your hair back, put whatever you want to eat on your plate, take the picture, do the thing. It will turn out just fine. ❤