How one woman found yoga, eased her inner hunger, and started loving herself. Follow Kimber as she shares her journey to loving her body, the joys and sorrows of yoga teaching, and venturing into the wilderness of writing and publishing.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Die Bad Photo! Die!

No one should be allowed to take pictures during Twister. Seriously.

Have you ever had your picture taken while your right foot is on blue, left hand on red, ass in the sky? Imagine the photographic possibilities… emphasis on “graphic” intended.

Years ago at a Twister party at my house, a friend snapped some shots, and months later the pictures ended up in my lap. (Remember the pre-Facebook lag time of our ancient past?) The party was a blast; I remember laughing til I nearly peed my pants. Which is always a good sign.

Yet holding those photos in my hand I wanted to erase that night from my memory forever.

At least two of the pictures prominently featured my butt sticking high up in the air… dwarfing everything else in its vicinity. OMG. Kill me now. Is that really what my butt looks like? The Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man in yoga pants?

Horrified doesn’t begin to touch my reaction.

It was as if someone had taken my happy memory of the evening and spray-painted “Fat Ugly Bitch” across it in drippy red letters. Placing the pictures upside down on the coffee table, I huddled in a ball on the couch and resolved to go on a diet the very next day. I wouldn’t stop until I’d starved myself to oblivion. How could my friends stand to look at me? How could anyone stand to look at me?

A lump formed in my throat.

The party had been so much fun. Until that moment, I’d felt great about the party, pretty good about my body, and satisfied with my life. What changed to make me wish the party had never happened? Did those pictures have enough power not only to make me hate that night, but to hate my body and throw myself into the arms of some harmful diet for months or years to come? Who gave these pictures that much power?


My friend didn’t intend mischief by sharing the pictures. She quite sensibly assumed I’d be thrilled to have photos of our evening of laughter-induced incontinence. Everyone had a great time, and no one complained about the size or prominence of my butt. No one told me I needed to go on a diet. The photos themselves were just pieces of paper with ink on them. I was the one who gave them the power to change how I felt about a night that happened months ago, and to undermine how I felt about my body and my life.

I’d given all my power away to two 4X6 pieces of glossy paper.

This sudden realization jolted me from the corner of the couch into which I’d burrowed. I sat up and turned the pictures over. I didn’t have to give them that much power. I didn’t have to give them any power. My life is good, my body is good. I glanced at the butt shots and decided that, most likely, no one’s butt looks good in Twister shots. These were just pictures of me having a good time with my friends. I didn’t have to fix them or fix myself.

Photos can be weirdly powerful. Have you ever given your power away to a particular photo? Can you take it back?

Let’s not give our power away to inanimate objects and the stories we tell ourselves about what they mean. Trust your body. Does it feel good? Is it happy? Is it getting the fuel and fun it needs? No photo can tell the truth about your body. Only your body knows the truth about you. Pause now and listen.

Love Your Body Blog Part 51