Self-exposure

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This photo was taken this morning, along with a side and back shot. I started a nutrition program with my coach this week, and yesterday’s homework was all about beginning measurements and photos. I don’t step in front of a camera very often, and the instances of my sharing photos of myself is even more rare. I do not consider myself to be photogenic. I see only flaws and insecurities.

My purpose in doing the nutrition program isn’t really to lose weight, so I have been thinking about Saturday’s homework all week. The program doesn’t exactly demand the measurements and photos, but they are recommended as a way to see progress. I like the fact that the program makes these optional requirements for anyone who feels that the numbers would be a negative focus. I am not afraid of the numbers. In fact, I’m actually interested in knowing where they are at right now. The last time I’ve had body measurements done was sometime in the spring of 2014, a few months before my first powerlifting competition. I highly doubt that my numbers today are what they were on that day, and I am okay with such knowledge. Mostly. I might not be thrilled about additional body fat, but any size increase due to muscle growth would be most welcome.

It’s the photos that have been on my mind all week. There are plenty of moments when I feel fat or unattractive, and looking at a picture of myself usually makes me feel both at the same time. And that’s with being adequately covered up by clothing! The prospect of being photographed while exposing most of my flesh made me cringe. But you know something? I didn’t realize just how heavy and oppressive my thoughts were until this morning, when I put on my bikini (that I bought and have never worn except to try on) and walked from the bedroom to the living room where my husband and daughter were sitting. My daughter made a comment about the look on my face, and that was when I started to recognize the weight upon my shoulders. My expression was likely similar to that of one being sent to the principal’s office or the gallows. I let my daughter take the pictures, and then I looked at them to make sure they were focused and okay for using. Not too bad! By that I do not mean that I love what I see; however, I do mean that I realized that my thoughts and self-perception had been skewed. What I expected to see was a blob of a woman bulging in all the wrong places, but what I saw wasn’t nearly as bad.

And just like that, the heaviness lifted and I was able to recognize just how deeply my thoughts had been working against me. This is my struggle. This is a struggle that strikes silently, secretly, and seductively. It distorts reality like a carnival mirror, and I am so accustomed to those misshapen reflections that I cannot trust any image of myself. My thoughts attack and eat away at my self-confidence. Although there are instances,like this morning, where I recognize the attack and win the battle, I am stuck in a war that will never end. This is why my Powerfully Beautiful theme is so important to me this year.

Rather funny, isn’t it, just how frequently my theme has already been bumping into my life…and we’re only 15 days into the new year!

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