Last year I flew to Paris to photograph Irene modeling our (then new) Paris bag. I also went to London, where I was lucky enough to meet Xanthe. Both are fellow Shutter Sisters. Both women bowled me over by their kindness. It was the trip of a life time and I never blogged about it. Then so many months passed that it felt ridiculous to write about the experience.
But today after a lazy morning, I decided to edit through the old photos. Up until now, I thought ignoring them was due to a severe case of procrastination. Then I found these pictures of myself which caused me to unexpectedly burst into tears. I remembered everything that was going on inside my head when they were taken. I remembered how tangled up I felt because I was melancholy. And clouds are not supposed to follow you on dream trips to Europe. Which made me feel ungrateful and guilty, and confused. Because IWasInParis, IMustBeSoHappy. But I wasn't. And I couldn't articulate why. Until now with the passing of time, and after processing, I see that I was conflicted by an intense desire to experience everything around me, and an equally crippling instinct to recoil and hide.
These were taken in the reflection of a window in Paris. When I look at my expression, I see a girl who is bracing herself. Dissecting everything with relentless criticism about how fat she was. And I realized today that the real reason I never blogged about this trip was because the overall thought of it just made me sad.
I've never talked about my weight here, because it's controversial. I've gained 10 pounds since this was taken. But that's incidental because you might think I'm huge. (I actually had a friend use that term to describe me behind my "huge" back recently). Or maybe I'm your goal weight, and you're disgusted by the fact that I'm whining about it. Either way, this is not a statement about how one "should" or "should not" look. These are my personal thoughts about my personal weight issues.
And traveling has a way of amplifying them. Maybe because I'm meeting new people. Maybe because it's a definitive day on the calendar indicating that I've failed to become skinny again. I don't know why I've gained 40 pounds in 2 years. What I do know is that I've cried in more dressing rooms than I can count. I've watched my love for fashion dwindle into an army of empire-waisted uniforms. I've worn jeans and long sleeves in 90 degree weather. But that's all surface-y bullshit. The tragedy is that I've become a person who lives half-way. I stopped going to girls' nights. I say no to lunch dates. I won't go swimming, and will likely decline an invitation to your party. The slap-in-the-face moment today was when I realized I won't even fully enjoy something as enjoyable as a TRIP TO PARIS.
With that being said, these pictures were a gift. Because the other thing I saw in my expression is a girl who just wants to be kinder to herself. I mean when did self hatred become some kind of badge of honor? "Oh, I'm so fat." "No I'm fatter." "Well at least you have straight teeth." "Yeah, but I my toes are crooked." How many times have we heard / been a part of this conversation? At the end of the day who CARES?! Seriously. I've never been immersed in a deep conversation with a friend while lamenting that her nose wasn't upturned. These lashings we give ourselves are stupid, pointless, and SO DESTRUCTIVE. Especially because the ONLY thing that EVER makes us feel better is KINDNESS. I think it's time to turn the kindness on ourselves. On my self.
Phew, that was quite the soap box for a minute. :)
Tomorrow, I will just put up some pretty pictures from the trip. Because it wasn't all angsty, I swear.
And also in the mean time, check out this crazy insane blog that Xanthe and Irene started: London vs. Paris. Having been fortunate enough to spend time with each of them, it's been so fun watching their lives mirror each other. Especially when they unknowingly photographed two clocks at the same time.