I Can’t Fix “I Hate Myself” in Photoshop

Now, take a moment and just breathe. Let me ask you this: what would happen if you treated anyone else in this whole wide world the way you treat yourself? Make the cycle stop right now. Because here’s the thing: whether it stops now or continues on for your whole life, you still have to wake up everyday and live that life. How you do it is up to you.

It has been a rough few weeks with you ladies (she says while scratching her head, one eyebrow raised). Lately I have had a rash of women that do not like themselves, fiercely, come in to get photographed. If I pointed out every single physical characteristic of myself that I believed were unpleasing to others I’d be here all day.

In fact, let’s just start with the face. Yes, ladies, that’s me. In all my glory. Unwashed hair, no makeup…lest you’re thinking: “What would she know?? She can Photoshop herself into Gisele Bundchen status if she wanted to!” Well here I am.

Photo on 11-3-14 at 12.03 PMSo let’s see here. My eyes are too close together, I have bags under my eyes, I have a big overbite, blemishes on my chin, wrinkles on my forehead, crows feet, frizzy-ass hair, gray roots…and this is just the face gals. I don’t have time to run you through the body.

And even if I juuuuuust take a few moments and do this:

DSC-501-2I am still fully aware of what I really look like.

It is one of the most interesting things in the world to work with women. So many walks of life, so many trials, tribulations, celebrations, milestones…so much to commemorate. I get why you come to me. Whether it’s for you, for him…whatever: you come to me to feel beautiful and get proof that you are beautiful. I’m a girl. I know.

But I simply cannot Photoshop you into liking yourself.

We all have insecurities. I have a ton! I just went through a 5 year battle of just hating myself physically. And I had a good grip on things, I thought. I am not a 41 year old woman that wants to forever be 25. I know it’s impossible and I have no desire to botox my way into fighting the fact that I’m getting older. It’s just not for me. But what I finally realized was that I am actually fine looking at who I have become in the mirror; it was the perception I thought others had of me that was getting in the way. And listen, this doesn’t come from nowhere. We have each been in lots of situations where friends or loved ones thought they were doing us a favor by pointing out the things we want to hide the most (like my ass) so we can’t blame it all on the magazines. My husband, God love him, has made more than one “helpful” comment about my ass looking like a shelf. Why did he think he was actually being complimentary? Because he noticed I dropped a few pounds for whatever reason and thought I would be happy when he exclaimed “Hey! You lost your shelf butt!” But what it really made me think was: How long had I been walking past him with him thinking “Damn her ass is getting f-a-t. You could set a drink on that thing!” And yes, you may not believe this, but I have actually found out that some women that knew me when I was a size 4 have been just WAITING for me to get fat and, in fact, were disappointed when I either hadn’t gotten fat yet or wasn’t fat enough to make them feel better about themselves. No I am not kidding and it was so disappointing on so many levels. So when I hit 36 and the metabolism starting to snail to a turtle crawl it was devastating for me. We all go through it, I know.

But I had let my entire self worth become about my body. It was so predictable. It was so disappointing. I was so angry with myself for obsessing about something that was so insignificant. I was a size 4. I am now a size 6 on my top and an 8 on my bottom. **GASP!!!** How can I live with myself?!?

But then I hit a crossroad and everything changed. I realized I could turn left and spend the rest of my life predictably and boringly being the woman that obsesses over her weight, her ass, her wrinkles, her size 8 bottom and continue to live on the diet roller coaster and actively volunteer in the love/hate relationship of “Yay! I lost a pound! I rock!” and then “Boo! I gained a pound! I’m worthless!”. Or I could turn right and simply put, accept myself. And at that moment the only thing that mattered was what I thought about myself. And at that moment it hit me that, for some reason, I didn’t care what others opinions were of me. And then in the next moment, something beautiful happened:

The gap between what I thought I looked like (ugly, old and fat) and what I actually look like and what the world sees me as (normal, pretty and of average weight) closed.

Well, it didn’t close completely, but wow did it get a ton smaller. I don’t know why all of a sudden I accepted myself but I did. I am now accepting of who I am, I love myself and yes I could lose a few pounds but who the hell cares?? I realized I would MUCH rather eat the foods I like, while still making healthy choices of course, be active and healthy and enjoy my life rather than count calories/points and hate myself into an early grave (all while starving and eating ridiculous things like rice cakes…what in the name of all things big and small are those damn tasteless things anyway??) And you know what happened?

I lost weight. 🙂 And then I put it back on, and I don’t give a shit.The funny thing is I still weigh just as much as I did when I was trying to starve myself into happiness. So poop on it: I chose to have a life and enjoy it while I can rather than starve it and be miserable. Join me…it’s so fun here. 😉

I know…that’s a lot of talk you didn’t ask for but I wanted you to know my journey so you know that when I say this it’s with love, understanding and empathy:

Quit picking corn out of chicken shit. Yes, I said it.

Please stop looking at a photo of yourself that I took and say “Oh my God…I’m so fat.” or “Wow where did those wrinkles come from”….my boobs look weird in that photo, my hair isn’t laying right, my waist looks fat there, my ass looks fat….etc etc and please stop doing the whole “It’s not you, it’s me” thing. It’s not that you did a bad job; I’m just that ugly/fat/hard to work with…etc etc. Just stop it. Quit looking at these photos and seeing these phantom “issues” you have with yourself because you know what? You are the ONLY one obsessing about it and the moral of the story is: obsessing will not change it. Quit obsessing over something you either will not or cannot change. Enough. ENOUGH!

If you hate yourself walking into my studio you will not like yourself in my photos. No amount of harassing yourself will change that. And no amount of Photoshopping a smaller waist, smaller ass, bigger boobs or whatever will change that for you.

So here is a gift from me to you.  I believe each of you self-haters will find this awesome TedTalk video quite  interesting. It’s only 15 minutes and please, take a moment and watch it. Not for me, for you.

And here is something I want you all to think about: any time in my lifetime I have ever asked a woman to describe herself she inevitably describes her attributes, her talents, personality characteristics and things about who she thinks she is…on the inside. Never, not once, when I have said “So, tell me about yourself” has any woman ever brought up one physical characteristic about herself. Never. Instinctively we all know, deep down, that’s all that matters.

So…tell me about yourself. 😉


9 thoughts on “I Can’t Fix “I Hate Myself” in Photoshop

  1. Oh my gosh Elizabeth…I’m sooo loving you and this post right now!! Teehee! I can totally relate: “I am not a 41 year old woman that wants to forever be 25. I know it’s impossible and I have no desire to botox my way into fighting the fact that I’m getting older. It’s just not for me. But what I finally realized was that I am actually fine looking at who I have become in the mirror”– I could not have said it better myself. I can’t wait to meet you in person!! Thank you for sharing! You’re are gorgeous my dear! 🙂

  2. Preach it, girl. Like most women, I feel like I’ve wrestled with body image my entire life. But two recent incidents gave me pause, and this is like the icing on my self-awareness cake.

    The first was a few weeks ago when someone at work made a comment along the lines of, “You’re so pretty. Why are you working here?” I’m sure they meant it as a compliment, but my knee jerk reaction was, “So what? Why shouldn’t I be working here?! What does being pretty have to do with my career?!!!” I knew instinctively that I offered the world more than looks, and was offended when someone suggested that I was just a pretty face. But somehow that didn’t translate when it was just me and the mirror. Weird how that works, huh?

    The second was when the hubby and I went on vacation last week. We were having a delightfully romantic time, and he began listing a few things he loved about me – smart, hardworking, beautiful, funny as hell, caring… And do you know which one stuck out to me the most? Him appreciating my humor! Not only does my husband think I’m funny, he thinks I’m funny AS HELL! I’m not kidding in that I wore that like a badge of honor in my subconscious for days.

    Thank you for sharing. Maybe the more of us that speak the truth out loud, the more of us that will believe it.

  3. I totally would describe myself as hot if someone asked me to describe myself in just ac few words…. But then you run the risk of getting branded as shallow…. No?. I have the total opposite problem where I think that I’m much better looking than I am in real life… But I don’t mind living in delusion as long as people let me keep believing it …which they have… So shhhh.

  4. Wonderful post, full of honesty and insight. Self-acceptance is a beautiful place to be. I’m still working on getting to that place!

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