I saw Tim’s request for models for his Human Nature Connection project on the West Seattle Blog.
“I’m starting work on a new series of images of people connecting with nature and I’m looking for people who want to collaborate and work with me to create and capture these images. I’m looking for interesting and willing subjects.” He also said “….athletes, hard men, hard women, and those who take a more relaxed approach (not so “hard” men and women) are all welcome.” Good thing he put in that last part….
I thought “That sounds like fun, I should do that…” and then kept thinking I should do it without actually making any effort towards it. I tend to do that a lot…I find new opportunities and experiences that sound fun and interesting, but never actually approach them. Either I think I’m too fat, or that I’ll fail somehow, or that it’s just not “for me.” I had to convince myself to email Tim and volunteer for his project.
I emailed Tim, and sent him a link to my blog. I described myself as being overweight and “not so hard”, because I wanted him to know exactly what I looked like and not be surprised or disappointed. When he emailed me back, I was surprised. I actually thought maybe he didn’t look at my blog or realize that I was overweight, but he did.
After we had set up a time to meet and do the photos, I started to get very nervous, and I almost cancelled on him. I still fight every day with 2 differing self-esteems – I love myself and who I am, and I am beautiful right now and I am fat and need to lose weight and unhappy with my appearance. Asking someone to take my photo when I feel both of these emotions seemed almost crazy. Also, what if people see the pictures on his blog and think “She’s too fat to be on here! What was she thinking?” Why would I set myself up for that kind of rejection? And I’ve gotten way too familiar with telling myself that “I can’t” that telling myself that “I can” is still foreign to me.
I convinced myself to go, even though I was extremely nervous. I have a bad habit of assuming people will judge me negatively because I’m overweight. Tim put me at ease right away, and it was actually a great experience. We talked a lot about my blog, and I told Tim how my blog is about body acceptance, self love, weight awareness, self hate, and all the things that go along with it.
I struggle every single day with who I am. I struggle with liking myself, and it’s not all about the weight. I struggle to accept that I might never lose weight, and so I need to learn to be happy with who I truly am, not just my appearance. I struggle to make the right choices for my health, and to be okay with the fact that it is a hard battle to lose weight. It’s all very conflicting and difficult, but it’s who I am. I mean, how do you say “I like who I am but I need to make changes and still like who I am?” Really, it’s not all fun and “Woohoo! Self discovery is AWESOME!!” Trust me, I haven’t had that reaction yet. But…I’m slowly beginning to like myself a bit more each day.
I am so happy I did Tim’s project. As I looked through the pictures, there were ones I really liked and ones that I was not so happy with. But not once did I think “I would like this better if I was thinner” or “I wish my thighs were smaller in that picture” or anything like that. The issues I had were with my expression or the way I was standing or some such nonsense, but nothing about my entire being. That’s a new experience for me. Even my blog pictures can provoke some self loathing, so I was quite surprised at my reaction. I think it’s due to some great photography (thanks Tim!) and a growing self-acceptance.
He will be posting a few of my shots on his blog soon. You can read more about the project and why he does it. Please check it out, and you can like his page on facebook too. He has some amazing shots of other models too.
Here are some of my favorite shots