(Originally published at Fat From the Side, here.)
My friend Kyla took this (entirely candid) picture of me while I was getting ready for a (not at all candid) photoshoot to create publicity materials for the documentary last Saturday. She took a lot of behind-the-scenes shots that day, but this one is probably my favorite.
When I’m getting ready for the day, doing my hair and makeup while leaning precariously over my powder-and-blush-stained counter-tops, the last thing I’m thinking about is my butt. I am very rarely thinking about my body at all, so much as I am thinking about an animated, two-dimensional portrait of myself that begins at the top of my head and ends at my bust. This version of me is still fat, but not nearly as fat as the person I see when I look at this picture that Kyla took. The thing is, I very rarely “feel” as fat as I look. I think this is a pretty normal occurrence for fat folks… I’ve spent so many years in my head, shying away from full physical embodiment, that I sometimes forget that my body is more than a face and some boobs—especially when I’m just going through my morning hair and makeup routine.
When I finish, I take a few looks in one or both of my two full-length mirrors. I do some twirling, check out my backside, and even do some side-viewing. But it’s not the same as looking at this picture—this static representation of a side of me that I rarely see, and one that I am only recently comfortable with.
But something awesome happened when Kyla showed me this picture: I was in awe. Not because I was surprised to see what I saw—I DO know how big my butt is, and how far my stomach and breasts stick out, regardless of how often I might “forget” it. I was in awe because when I saw myself I experienced this deep sense of pride, this voice inside me that was like “fuck YEAH that is you! That is your body. That is your home.” And it felt so good. I’m still beaming, just looking at this picture now, and feeling that wonderful feeling when you realize that your body is YOU and you are your body and everything is just… good. This is me; I’m a good body.