TW FOR BODY NEGATIVITY (but it wasn’t me and the story has a happy ending)
This picture from last night is giving me lots of feelings because it reminds me strongly of another photo of me.
It shows me, about 10 years old, cooking with another girl at a 4-H Foods meeting. 4-H is a youth organization with various projects that give young people the opportunity to learn about all sorts of things. The Foods project is about cooking, nutrition, meal planning, kitchen safety, and so on. We would take pictures at every 4-H function to show off what we did in end-of-the-year record books, which is why that photo even exists.
I remember pulling it out of a pile of pictures while putting together my record book. I showed it to my mom and said it was perfect because it showed me actively doing something at a meeting, instead of just sitting around listening to someone else. My mom didn’t see that, though.
She gave me a look - a little critical, a little sad, a little exasperated. The photo is a side shot. My body has always been the kind that shows fat way more obviously in side shots versus front-on shots. While I saw in that photo me learning a new technique, and my cute braids, my mom only saw my big belly.
So this picture above? It’s really similar: me, from the side, cooking, not worried about how I look because I’m concentrating on making food, and, yes, my big belly is quite noticeable.
We don’t automatically hate our bodies. We learn that behavior from others. In my case, I learned a lot of it from my mom. And I bet if she saw this, she would still tsk tsk and give me a Look because of my belly. It’s frustrating, it really is. I, however, will look at this picture and see only the way I show my love for my friends through food by baking a cake, slightly intoxicated, at 2 in the morning.