Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A picture paints a thousand words...

I hazard a guess that bulk of you reading this right now have a photo in your collection that you absolutely loathe of yourself...  and I'd even put a few dollars down that those with weight issues avoid the dreaded camera as much is humanly possible - can we say "picture avoidance" anyone?!!

Considering I've spent bulk of my years avoiding photos - I hit somewhat of an "ohhhhhh Amy!" moment tonight, particularly having replied to a thread on the BLC forums earlier today suggesting newbies take  'before' shots (as much as we hate them) - and naturally, progress shots as they lose.   Now, given what's happened recently with me - and having my story go so public - when I took my 'before' photos over 3 years ago, I can tell you I had NO intention of them ever being seen by anybody else...   They were just MY private record of what I'd hope to never see again!

I used to LOATHE - with venom - the prospect of my photo being taken... I wrote this in my forum message today...

Very much in decline...
"There's one shot in particular that absolutely breaks my heart - it's just a random shot of me sitting in my house, when I was at Uni, and the look of utter despair on my face absolutely haunts me now.

I know I was dead inside when that was taken, and I can literally see it written on my very very unhappy face.... I can't look at that photo without getting upset - because I'm SOOOO far removed from that person now, and I'm so very grateful that I'm no longer in that physical and mental space that she is... "


So after three years of avoiding any form of full body photos wherever possible - (and for the most part, it IS possible when you start getting shifty with where you sit, stand, excuse yourself from impending shots) - and having become the QUEEN of self-portrait headshots!!!  .... the prospect of multiple cameras glaring at me - from tip to toe - this week was nothing short of OVERWHELMING - now that my story is so public, and people want to SEE just what it is I've done to this body...

It's SO ME!
After my local paper printing my story last Saturday (with both my before shot and my 77kgs lost shot supplied - both of which my sister had taken privately) - I pretty much scraped through my first hit of media without too much hassle.  On Monday I went off to work, and after fluffing about with the photographer there and taking shots for the article, including our front cover, the anxiety had started to surface somewhat. BUT I was in safe hands here - my work colleagues would look after me - and I trusted they'd do only their best with it!

So sitting there over the course of the day (and a busy day at that!) - it wasn't until well into the late afternoon before I even let myself think about those photos again.  I was nervous through and through, so worried they just weren't good enough, and that this poor old body of mine wouldn't make the cut!  (not that I'd get much choice mind you... it was done!!!) ... but if I'm truly honest, I was too scared to look at ME, I didn't want to feel that usual disappointment...

Whose a cover girl then?!
When I previewed the front cover, I can honestly tell you that I had a physical reaction....  not in a bad way!!!!  No stomach churning, gutt-wrenching agony (as of days gone by) - but it was like a bunch of butterflies had just been let loose in my tummy!  I was speechless - and I'm pretty sure I stopped breathing just so I could control the tears welling up in my eyes and the lump in my throat.

I've NEVER had a full body photo I've liked... until Monday....  AND the most beautiful part of all was the fact that I look SO comfortable standing there in my singlet top and gym gear - this is the stuff I live in at the moment - this is ME!!   (ironic, given how ashamed I was baring my arms or wearing tracksuit pants in public not that long ago...)

So I pretty much flew home on a cloud of amazement that night - and by the time I actually got to see the rest of the shots, I was over the moon!  They were just gorgeous - there I was, in all my 'usual' style clothes, and I looked HAPPY!!!   (and excuse me Amy, but what happened to half your body?!!!  Stupidly dumbfounded that I had somewhere, along the line, actually changed the shape of my waist!!)

So when I was asked to have photos done professionally for my article in That's Life (to be shot today), I thought I was ok... !!  I mean, I'd just come through those two local media hits AND posed for head-to-toe photos (without hiding behind something or someone else) AND SURVIVED!!   I "thought" I was going to be ok...

Until....

Prepping for the shoot proved quite emotional.  Yesterday we organised for a hairdresser, and I offered to do my own makeup  (in my mind, I assumed it was just something easy and casual, and really didn't think "fussing it up" was necessary?!).   But no...  I was asked to "glam it up"  - wear a dress, something really bright and colourful, get totally dolled up and splash myself about.

And I panicked.  The more I tried to organise it, the more anxiety crept in and the more upset I ended up...  I was a right royal mess by the evening....

First off, colour...  Considering 90% of my wardrobe has been BLACK for god knows how long, colour is only a VERY new addition.  I rarely wore it 'before' because it made me feel far too conspicuous (and I just wanted to blend in, hide away and not be noticed...).   I STILL struggle with the concept of wearing colour - it's for people who have the confidence to be bold and be seen, surely?! The only colours in my wardrobe that I've actually WORN recently are blue, and dark purple, oh, and the pink singlet top I bravely wore to the gym (and thought it a miracle!!)  That's pretty much it!   So the prospect of finding something 'colourful' in my wardrobe unnerved the hell out of me!

Hiding behind black...
Then ofcourse there was the talk of "the dress". Well I can tell you now that my stomach DID turn in knots with this one, and the lump in my throat this time wasn't because of happiness.... just pain.  Last time I wore a dress was my year 12 grad - it was a homemade heavy black dress - covered me from neck to toe....  and it was the middle of summer!   Whilst all my friends were wearing their bought slimline numbers, or the gorgeous sleeveless satin 'designer style' dresses (my god, I was SO envious) - I was wearing an enormous black 'tent' that looked as uncomfortable as I felt!  My friends had had their hair and makeup done professionally - and I did my own...  and I "thought" I looked ok til I saw everyone else...  And then there was the photo.... :/

So you can imagine how I was feeling at the prospect of this "colourful dress" business....  Did we REALLY need to go down and repeat that particular moment in time when I felt completely out of place, irrelevant, uncomfortable, revolting... should I keep going?!!    I was devastated, sat here in tears and had no clue what to do...

It was two gorgeous friends online last night that talked me through it - again!  The emotions of these things run rampant - I thought I was ok with alot of this nonsense, but clearly not...   I lost ALL my confidence in my wardrobe and styling abilities, prayed that my hair (which needed a good cut and colour too, not just a blowdry!) was going to do SOMETHING on the day, and hoped like crazy my makeup would be good enough...    And that was on top of the pressure of an unknown photographer AND the prospect of flashing this "still in progress" body around again.... all VERY much out of my control!

SO after I got past the tears (yep, more tears...  this past five weeks of Challenge have taken a HUGE toll on my emotions - SO many tears, huge transitions!)... I went about piecing together some sort of photoshoot-worthy wardrobe.

This morning I went off and did my PT session and hit the gym with gusto!  How ironic that the one thing that gave me my confidence back this morning, was the VERY thing I had NO confidence in just a few weeks ago...!!   I smashed out my session, went home and got ready for the hairdresser...

By the time I got down to the photographer, I was a bundle of nerves.  My hands were shaking, I'd hoovered down my lunch between breaths, and I was just trying to maintain SOME semblance of professional attitude here...!!!

Stepping out in my WHITE t-shirt (WHITE!!! I never wear white!) and my lil denim skirt (incidentally far too big, but all I could muster - bulk of my wardrobe doesn't fit!)... and my new black boots from previously blogged shopping trip...  That was my staged "casual Amy look" - and I felt ok!  My makeup was good, my hair had some bounce and I had some serious curves going on (Kate and Pand are gonna laugh at this, but that bra I found stashed in the drawer was the best goddamned find I've had in a long time - totally saved my bacon today!  ... and I'm so sorry for flashing that around on Skype last night for your opinion, hahaha!)....

... and let the photo fun-fare begin!   We shot inside, we shot outside, we shot on one of the main roads, we shot in the park....  I smiled, I walked, I laughed, I felt completely ridiculous... but it was, dare I say it... FUN!!!

Back to the studio we went, and I jumped into outfit number two - my red top, black skirt and black high heels...  Best I could do for "glam" based on recently acquired clothes (that I hadn't yet been brave enough to wear public) and COLOUR that I so feared wearing!!!   (but no, not "a dress")...   Snap snap snap later...  a walk over the road to do a couple outside shots, and we're done!

Red top, how I love thee!
I SURVIVED!    ... and then I got a sneak preview....  Loading up on the computer screen, all these shots of this one girl...  an enormous smile on her face - strutting her stuff...

.... and you know what, the pit of my stomach contracted, and I was instantaneously ENVIOUS of her, so totally jealous....  That horrible ache in my tummy that I wished just for a minute I could "be that girl" and look the way she did - cuz surely she must feel as good as she looks?!


HAVE YOU LOST THE PLOT ENTIRELY AMY?!!!  That girl IS YOU!!!  

My god...  I can't believe that I reacted like that - that's how irrational my brain is with my weightloss!   Most days I can "feel" the physical difference, but when you're just doing your usual thing day-in, day-out... you forget what it is you've actually done!   I KNOW how ridiculous that sounds - and it's the thing that most of you pull me up for time and time again - but my head really can't see the physical changes sometimes...  (a lifetime of self-doubt and hatred is a very hard thing to overcome...)

So looking at the preview shots this arvy, I was nothing short of DUMBFOUNDED - my "look at me, I've lost weight" pose (you know, the typical mag shot) made me look TINY!!!   I kept looking at it (with my mouth gaping open) cuz I just couldn't believe what I was seeing...  My casual shots were gorgeous - the girl in those photos looked SO SO SO happy and confident...  and again, DUH! That was ME!!   I don't know whether to laugh, cry or run around half of Bathurst in hysterics because of it?!

So here I am... I don't even know myself...!!!   EVERYTHING has changed!    My physical state is nothing short of entirely different (and there's STILL more to come!) - and the smile plastered all over my face in these photos tells me I am actually, genuinely HAPPY! And if those eyes really are the windows to your soul, then by god, I now know that I truly have given myself permission to live... they're not dead anymore....


I knew photos were important - much more than something to stick to the front of the fridge, or print off onto mousepads and stubbie holders!  They're moments in time that signify events and people, prove our place in history, and evoke emotions of a existence that we DO deserve to celebrate...  and today I finally understood why....

:)

20 comments:

  1. What a beautiful person you are Amy......inside and out!!! Luv YL..zanimals

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lauren Murray (purplelolly)April 13, 2011 at 10:02 PM

    Brilliant....so happy for you! and you deserve every happiness. So glad for your breakthrough, you earned it, now enjoy it!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm sitting here having a laugh - not at you, with you. So good you can see the changes now - BRILLIANT. As for the bra - well see, what have Kate and I being saying for weeks! Glad that one worked out too. (Excellent post)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh Amy...that is fantastic and also so funny...to think you were jealous of yourself!!! I understand why. But just as the "new" you can look back and feel such pain for the "old" you, the "old" you must be feeling so proud of the you you are now!!! Rejoice in it....you have worked so hard for it. Of course the last 5 weeks have been hard...after 3 years of marathon, you have thrown in a 7 week sprint!! Such a spirit only comes along in a rare person. BTW...RED suits you....it is soooooo your colour!!!
    Congrats again, "Smallerme"

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ohhhhh that is SO true... the sprint thing - my god I didn't even recognise that neither!!! See, MORE revelations!

    This is why I'm SO grateful for you guys too! You're all helping me redevelop myself - transition and find my feet again! God I love you guys...!!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think you're now seeing the amazing and gorgeous woman that we see.

    ReplyDelete
  7. OK glamour puss. I have a question for you:
    When the race is won and dinner is over, what are you planning to do?
    Are you going to remember any of the things that we've been saying to you? The future is yours for the taking Amy and no one else but you.
    It's so good that you've finally got to take a real look at you...the YOU that we all see.
    I don't know of anyone else who other women love so much and who deserves it all.xxx

    ReplyDelete
  8. Excellent. Even better than the getting under 100kg moment - the stuff on the inside comes hardest!

    ReplyDelete
  9. OH AMY... I SWEAR U HAVE TO PUT ALL THESE BLOGS INTO A BOOK... YOU ARE THE MOST CARING.BEAUTIFUL SOUL EVER...LOOKING AT THESE GORGEOUS PHOTOS OF YOU YOUR HAPPINESS SHINES THROUGH... YOU ARE A LIVING EXAMPLE THAT ANYYONE CAN LOOSE WEIGHT AS LONG AS THEY "NEVER GIVE UP" ..IN REGARDS TO THE PHOTOS... I SOOO AGREE WITH YOU ... I HAVE TAKEN PHOTOS OF MYSELF ON A WEEKLY BASIS...ITS A COMMON JOKE BETWEEN MY KIDS AND ME IS "OH SHES TAKING PHOTOS OF HERSELF AGAIN" BUT WHAT THEY DONT UNDERSTAND IS THAT ITS THE IMPORTANCE OF SEEING ONES INNER SELF CHANGE OVER TIME... BEFORE ,DURING AND AFTER ..... THERE IS NO GREATER FEELING.... OF SEEING PROGRESS THROUGH YOUR OWN EYES... YEAH I DID LOATH MY BEFORE PHOTO...BUT NOW I EMBRACE IT .... AS IT IS A CONSTANT REMEINDER THAT I HAVE COME SOOO FAR.... BIG HUGS TO YOU BEAUTIFUL GIRL... I WILL BE LOOKING OUT FOR YOU IN "THATS LIFE" AND ENJOY YR WORKOUT WITH COMMANDO... U SOOO DESERVE THIS AMY..... YOU ARE A TRUE AUSTRALIAN INSPIRATION :) xxxXX

    ReplyDelete
  10. Darling girl you've already said it all! That's your spirit and soul shining through at long last. I believe she was always there, just buried under a mountain of discontent & sadness. Hurrah to the bra, the red top & finally recognising that your outer self truly does match your inner self xx

    ReplyDelete
  11. I totally understand what it is like looking at before photos... unfortunately my wedding photos are of me at my biggest and it is sad to see me on my wedding day visually miserable with self loathing. I think the before photos are great especially for those in denial about their true size. It is inspiring to see where you have come from Amy and keep the pics as a reminder of where you came from, what you achieved and where you never want to be again.

    ReplyDelete
  12. You are STUNNING.

    That first photo - I remember when you posted that a few weeks back and it haunted me then. The loneliness, loathing and misery just seep out of it.

    The 'now' photos show someone with hope, energy and passion. Not to mention determination, beauty and bravery. You're an inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
  13. That girl in the red top IS YOU Amy! I'm so glad you have had the opportunity to "glam up" and have a physical record in front of you that shows you the so-far results of all your hard work. We do find it difficult to see the changes sometimes but the happy shiny Amy that is in those photos is a joy to see.

    ReplyDelete
  14. You look so gorgeous in your photo's Amy... Can't wait to catch the professional ones in the Mag! Being able to see it for yourself is such a huge step.... I'm not quite there yet and can't wait till I can look at a picture of myself and like what I see! Watching you transform before my eyes into a woman of courage and confidence, who can finally see the beauty we've all seen for a LONG time now, is just so wonderful and inspiring. I'm so happy for you! Agree totally with Kate and Pand, Hurrah for the Bra! AND red is totally your colour xxx Beautiful blog from a beautiful girl! Kell x

    ReplyDelete
  15. WOW! It was a long time ago that I first said to you that I really did wish that you saw yourself even just a little like the way we see you. The AMAZING, strong, beautiful, caring and inspirational woman that you are. So glad that this week, you've seen a glimps! Imagine how you'll feel when you see the rest:)
    - amsaci

    ReplyDelete
  16. I live in Orange and the Photo News gets delivered to our work weekly. Today you were on the front cover. Everyone at work commented on your extrodinary effort and how great you look.
    WELL DONE

    ReplyDelete
  17. when is the "thats life" mag out with you in it? i dont normally buy them, but i will this time! you look UNREAL!!!! so so so so happy- congrats!
    ps red is definatly your colour!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Fabulous! Just wait till you reach your GW. You will be on top of the world.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I cry everytime i read your blog .. tears of joy and happiness for you ... can you get anymore beautiful .. so glad its all coming together for you .. you deserve every second of it .. I am looking forward to the next installment whatever that maybe .. love you Amy ♥

    ReplyDelete