I hate them. I hate having to look at my body, I hate that they record me at this weight, I hate that other people will see and (I think) judge them. I hate the noise it creates in my head every time I see a picture of myself. I hate how every occasion is ruined by looking back at photos, zeroing in on my body and instantly wishing I was dead. I hate being torn by wanting to celebrate things, wanting to be with friends, wanting to document another day in the world verses knowing how utterly shit it makes me feel to look at them.
So often I offer to be the one taking the photo, as a way of being out of the picture. That works well, mostly. It has left gaping holes in my history, though. The last picture of myself that I can look at and appreciate is when I was about 8, just before I was diagnosed with epilepsy, playing in the surf at Byron Bay. Then- nothing. I have about 30 photos from the ages of 12-21. I hate them, although I also have the double shame of looking at them and knowing how much more I weigh now, and thinking, ‘If I was fat then….’.
All I see is fat, awkwardness, sadness, eyes that never look straight, too many chins, bulging breasts…it goes on. On and on and ON and I just want to rip them all to tiny pieces and retreat from the world and never leave the hosue ever again. Being in the world and knowing, even more acutely, that people are looking at me and seeing my weight, nothing else. It makes my skin crawl with…what? Shame, embarrassment, loathing? I don’t quite know what to call it but it makes me feel like killing myself. Photos reduce me to only my external body, to the thing I hate most about myself.
I am trying harder now to suck it up and be in pictures, even though it makes me feel so fucking horrible right now. I want to be able to show my children pictures of myself when I was young. Fuck, I want them to be free of this awful self loathing, no matter what their size or shape. But it is so. fucking. hard. to be visible in this way.
I am crying now as I write this. I have just had a wonderful weekend away with friends. We went camping in a beautiful secluded spot on the coast. Swimming, walking, talking, card games, fires. I didn’t feel out of place, or like people resented me, or like I was taking up too much space- I was free of all that day-to-day, normal life shit. But then- the photos. The photos that other people took to make memories of a great weekend, I am now crying over, grabbing at my excess flesh, desperate to purge, wanting to cut. I HATE MYSELF. I hate the way I look, I hate the way my disgustingness is captured. I hate it.
What is the solution to this? I hate the photos of myself at 12, 50 kilos lighter than now. I hate the group photos that I have been coerced into, hiding at the back, desperate to disguise as much as possible of my body. I hate how every year I blow on candles and wish to magically become ‘thin’, whatever the fuck that is, and as if it were as simple as that, as I say ‘No, no, let me take the photo’. I hate the knowledge that I will keep being in photos- my upcoming graduation comes to mind- and keep having to be reminded of what I look like.
I know that this most recent photo will send me into a spiral of starving and binging, purging, binging again. I know that I will come up with meticulous diet and exercise plans, promise myself that I will stick to them, this time. All the while also knowing that it will never change, if I keep doing it this way. ‘Mad is he who repeats the same process while expecting a different outcome’.
There’s no neat ending to this post. What can I say to male myself feel better, with this most recent image burnt onto my brain, with the voice in my head loud and on repeat, you disgusting pice of shit. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it.