No, I won’t step out of the picture.
At a recent family gathering, my undeniably adorable child and I were playing on the ground. She was shredding the petals off a flower, like you do, and I was talking to her about the pieces she was attacking and what colors they each were when I heard it.
“Um, could you move so I can get this picture?”
What? I looked up to see a cousin standing there with her phone out, ready to capture the adorable moment and the precocious child without the burden of her obese mother in the frame, marring the perfect moment with my unwieldy body.
Not understanding, I continued to play with my daughter, counting the petals now and finally, to the relief of our photographer, getting out of the frame so she could take a picture of my kid being cute. At the time, I didn’t think anything of it, but going through photos of that night, taken by this person, there are plenty of pictures of my daughter, but I am cut out. I am detached arms and legs, a torso even, but my whole, large, soft, warm, loving body? Nowhere to be found. And my face, round and full? Heavens, no.
As I’ve written about before, I have been skinnier than I am right now, and I have been fatter. My weight and self-esteem fluctuate like the tides. Right now, I am decidedly on the heavier side of my sliding scale, but for once, I am happy in my body. My body is miraculous. It made a person and nourished her for 27 months. It is great for cuddling and funny to pinch and roll, sensory and sensual. But most of all, it is mine. It houses a brain that I am proud of, thoughts that make me (mostly) happy and a heart that beats joyously. I am not ashamed at my size and no one else has the right to be either.
And when I am dead and gone in fifty or sixty years, I want my child to see her mother at every stage, at every size, and at every occasion. She deserves that and I do, too. So take the fat girl’s picture already. I promise I won’t break the camera.