Being Seen Through the Lens of Love

Today, I saw the worst picture of myself. The most unflattering picture ever. I’m so embarrassed by it. And the worst part about the worst picture ever is that it’s from my sister’s wedding, and it’s in the photo album that everyone now has. I can’t believe she kept that one; she should’ve deleted it. The photographer should have deleted it!

Let me tell you what’s wrong with that picture.

First, I’m doing some silly bodybuilder pose. Mind you, I do not resemble a bodybuilder except for the fact that we are both humans. Second, the dress I am wearing was purchased the day before because I couldn’t fit into my bridesmaids dress, so it is not flattering on me and I was very self-conscious for needing a bigger dress. Third, my arms look like someone pumped them full of air. They are huge and disproportionate compared to the rest of my body. I look terrible.

There you go. I said it. I’m actually embarrassed I think this way of myself. It’s a struggle I’ve had for my entire life. I am not good enough, nor will I ever be. My shape and size have never quite fit what I think I should look like. And now, at 29 years old, I don’t even know what that is. I just know that I am too big. I am always too big to be happy with myself.

I remember when I was in eighth grade. I was super skinny. I ran track and danced and played basketball. I was so athletic that you couldn’t even pinch the fat on my inner thigh. And even though I was teenie tiny, I was too fat for me. I’ll see pictures from then and wonder how I ever felt that way about my eighth-grade self, but the feelings and beliefs were real.

I think I’m still struggling with this today. Ok, I know I am still struggling with this. A few days before my sister’s wedding, I was saying something demeaning about my size. My sister stopped me and told me that she thinks I am seeing myself as bigger than I really am. Like the way, I describe myself isn’t exactly how other people see me.

Which takes me back to the picture.

I did not mention that if you look at my face, you can tell I’m having a blast. I am laughing hysterically and smiling so big. I am having fun. I look happy. At that moment, I wasn’t thinking about how big I am, or how big my arm looks. Am I pretty sure I was thinking something along the lines of “did I pull off the silly Hulk Hogan wrestling move for the entrance? Did people get it? Was it funny?” I might have even thought, “wow this is so much fun!”

If I look at the face in the worst picture ever, it is no longer the worst picture ever. It’s a fantastic memory from a fantastic night. My sister had the most beautiful wedding. It was one of the best nights in my recent history.

So why am I telling myself that I’m too big? Why do I keep telling myself that I look terrible in every single picture of me? I think I need to stop lying to myself and start appreciating myself a little. Maybe if I do that, I won’t just see the pose, or the dress, or the arm in the photo. I’ll see the happiness and love. I’ll stop looking for the negatives and start seeing the beauty that shines out of me from within. I’ll be able to look at myself in this picture and say “oh my gosh! I had so much fun that night!” instead of “ugh, I can’t believe I look like that.”

Melissa Rafalko

Her dream job is to be a princess, but for now, she sticks with being a scientist who has a big imagination. Melissa is from Scranton, Pennsylvania and currently calls Nashville, Tennessee her home. Her family is her life. She loves her dog, Jodi, and her cat, Johnny Bear. Oh, and she is reading the Harry Potter books for the first time, and she thinks they are amazing!

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