I think with yesterday being the last of my series with Tommy Bahama that today is the perfect time to share today’s post! I’ve been wanting to write it for years but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I was too afraid, and too attached to the image I’ve cultivated of myself.
I’m assuming you know that when you see photos of me, and our home, that they’re the creme de la creme of the photos. That I’ve styled, prepped, edited and tried hard to make everything (including myself) as pretty as possible. I’ve done this because it’s nice to look at lovely photos, one only has to spend 3 minutes on Pinterest to understand that it’s a part of our current cultural language. Also, as a photographer, it’s always felt like my job- to make things appear even better than life, if possible. But it’s important to note that this site and the photos featured are very much an edited version of reality!!
I’m not saying these photos aren’t real, of course they are, but they’re a partial truth. Here are some other truths: for the past four months the dogs have napped on a gigantic pile of papers in my office. Our couch pillows are so very rarely perfectly fluffed, they’re more often haphazardly tossed in various spots on the couch. There are piles of dog fur the size of small bunnies that blow like tumbleweeds through our hallway. If I’m ambitious enough in a day to put on makeup I most often wear it to sleep and through the next day, if not two. I have an amazing ability to reserve proper showering until my hair is nearly in dreadlocks. I eat meals that are comprised of leftovers or what others might consider snacks, or sometimes I just eat spoonfuls of nut butter because I’m too lazy to cook. I can be jealous, greedy, hot tempered, rude, sad, and an entirely other spectrum of humanity than what you see here. It’s not all quinoa salads, skirts and crop tops at our house my friends, it’s just not.
But I don’t think that you’re necessarily here to look at piles of my paper on the floor, you didn’t wander over from Pinterest one time because you saw a photo of me wearing yoga pants and on the couch typing away on my laptop sitting in my own filth. (HA!) So I’m here to remind you today, this site- and ALLLLL of the others like it, are partial truths. I’m sharing beautiful inspiration photos because it’s JUST that, inspiration. It pains me to think that someone would aspire to anything visually featured here.
I’ve shared some of my real, less polished truths above, and here’s a bit more – circling back to the Tommy Bahama bikini photos. I used to be 165 lbs and you can see the photos of me above. I barely recognize myself. I was a girl that scooped ice cream up with potato chips after coming home from high school. I was depressed, I was unhealthy, I felt trapped. I realize that in looking at these recent photos of me doing yoga poses on the beach you might never have thought that. I’m also aware that I’ve never been brave enough, or ok enough with myself, to say YEP, THAT WAS ME. That IS me. That overweight girl has been like a cobweb: clingy, frightening and better avoided.
I had a complicated childhood, I’ve worked hard to become a stable and healthy person, but the truth is that I’m very much a work in progress. What I’m learning these days, the most important lesson of my life so far- is that the greatest freedom, the greatest happiness lies in LETTING GO. Right here, right now I’m letting go of my need for you to think that I’m anything but exactly who I am. I’m not who you see in ANY of these photos- I’m the words that you’re reading here. And with that, in case you hadn’t, you can also realize that you’re not the photos you’ve seen of yourself. You are not the size of your jeans, the length and color of your hair, the style of your clothes. You are not your body, as strange as I know that sounds.
If you’ve found that in reading the above you feel acceptance for me- that reading about my flaws softened you towards me somehow, please turn that right back around to yourself. Soften to yourself, your own flaws, your own very human-ness. If you reaction was negative, or judgemental, notice that too. Turn that around in your head as well, examine what part of yourself you’re struggling with that may relate. And try to soften to yourself.
I can only write that because I’m in the thick of softening to myself. I’m changing that conversation from “Hey former overweight and unhappy girl, you’re a mess!” to “HEY FORMER OVERWEIGHT AND UNHAPPY GIRL! YOU ARE AMAZING AND HUMAN AND BRILLIANTLY, PERFECTLY, WONDERFULLY IMPERFECT! THE WORLD SHOULD SEE YOU!” I’m facing fears. I’m turning towards the cobwebs and walking towards them instead of running away. Letting go. Learning to love myself.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for every bit of love you bring into the world. We are all connected. I feel it. xx- Sarah